The Merritt Centennials had their best effort of the season and pushed the Interior leading Salmon Arm Silverbacks to the brink in a 4-3 OT loss.
The first period saw the Cents pile up the chances once again, but a huge toe stop by Ryan Winter stood up as one of the difference makers in a scoreless first period. Shots after one were 11-9 in favour of Salmon Arm.
The game truly came to life in the second period and it happened early as the Silverbacks’ Andreozzi scored on a just expired powerplay to open the scoring. Joey Berkopec was able to tie the game minutes later when he drove wide on the left wing and fired a shot low on Langenegger and then picked up his own rebound to tie the game 1-1. The ‘Backs were able to add two more throughout the remainder of the frame to take a 3-1 lead into the final period. Shots after 2 were 27-25 Salmon Arm.
In the third period the Cents gave their all to get on the comeback trail. After chances a plenty in the early goings of the period they were finally able to pull through. Jake McLean fished the puck out of the corner and flung it out front to Payton Matsui who backhanded a shot up and over Langenegger’s glove side to make it 3-2. With the game on the line and the Cents pushing late with the net empty Daniel Tkac put it back to the line and Talon Zakal unleashed a lazer from the line that found a way through the crowd low to tie the game at 3 with 23 seconds left to send the game to overtime. Shots after 3 were 46-38 Salmon Arm.
In overtime, the Cents had an early mishap that nearly ended up in their own net if not for a fearless block from Olson Werenka in his own net. Then at the other end Josh Kagan had a stone cold breakaway but was stoned by Langenegger. The Silverbacks ended up converting on a questionable goal. Ryan Winter was interfered with but play wasn’t called and the puck came back to the blueline and Hirose was able to put it past a late to the party Winter. Final shots were 50-40 in favour of the Silverbacks.
After the game, Head Coach Derek Sweet Coulter said the team played with their heart on their sleeves.
“We had good leadership, good chances, and we never gave up tonight. We didn’t quite pull it off, but if we continue to play like that the results are going to come.”
The Cents look to reset for the rematch tomorrow night at the NVMA. Fortis BC is giving fans a chance to win a $500 Visa GC so make sure to turn up for 7pm puck drop.