Puck possession is key to winning any hockey game – but it’s absolutely paramount during 3-on-3 overtime.
Owen Beckner rifled a shot bar-down past Aiden Feddema to give the Salmon Arm Silverbacks a 4-3 extra time victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Friday in front of 1,631 fans at the Kopar Memorial Arena.
“It’s nice to see that we got a point out of that game. Getting that tying goal late was huge but it was unfortunate with the overtime, we had some tired players getting caught out,” said Colten Cameron, Spruce Kings captain.
With the win, Salmon Arm (27-17-4-2) moves five points ahead of PG (25-20-5-1) for third-place in the Interior Conference with a trio of games remaining.
The Spruce Kings on the other hand are in a tie for fifth spot with the Vernon Vipers (25-20-24-) and are also one point back of the West Kelowna Warriors (26-20-5-0) for fourth.
Local product Nathan Mackie opened the scoring for the Silverbacks at the 4:27 mark of the first period. The Michigan State commit drove hard to the Spruce Kings goal and re-directed a Ethan Ullrick pass by Jordan Fairlie for a 1-0 lead.
After a Nick Leggett cross-checking call, PG evened the score courtesy of Jack Stockfish who buried a rebound at the side of the Salmon Arm net, shovelling it past Matthew Tovell.
“It was a nice breakout on the power-play to get set and I saw Gagno coming down the wing with the shot so I figured I should find some open space and the puck came to me luckily,” added Stockfish.
But, another defensive breakdown would prove costly before the intermission as Isaac Lambert accepted a Raoul Boilard pass to put the Silverbacks back on top at 2-1.
Fairlie would then get pulled at the 1:43 mark of the second as CJ Foley snuck in behind the Spruce Kings defence blasting a one-timer into the goal.
Knowing what was on the line, PG dug deep and put their work boots on. Less than five minutes later, Colten Cameron led a transition rush and fired a shot to Tovell who spat out a juicy rebound right to the stick of Scott Cousins who collected his third of the season.
In what was a tight-checking, playoff-like battle, the Spruce Kings didn’t find the equalizer until 17:01 of the third period. A heroic effort by Kai Greaves saw him glide into the attacking zone from the blueline, protecting the puck before spotting Jake Schneider who’s shot eluded Tovell and squirted past the red line.
“It feels like a playoff game, playing against them. I feel like we match up against them pretty well and being physical creates a lot of momentum and they are pretty skilled too. We always seem to have close games against Salmon Arm,” added Cameron.
Feddema made eight saves on nine Silverback shots in relief while Tovell stopped 24 of 27 Spruce King attempts.
Both teams finish off their double header tonight at 7pm from the Kopar Memorial Arena.