After opening the scoring, the Cents couldn't keep the Silverbacks at bay, and eventually gave way in a 6-2 final.
The game started well for Merritt who got an early shorthanded marker from Payton Matsui to take lead less than two minutes in. Salmon Arm would level the contest just after the midway point of the first frame with a goal from William Poirier and after one it was tied 1-1. Ryan Winter had to stand on his head in the first and throughout the game as shots after 1 were 22-8 Salmon Arm.
The second period would start off with a bang for the ‘Backs, with Drew Bennett tipping home an Akito Hirose shot just 15 seconds in. The assist for Captain Hirose was his 100th career BCHL helper. Matsui would even the scoring less than 90 seconds later with his second of the night. But from there Salmon Arm took control, scoring three unanswered, two on the power play, to take a 5-2 lead into the final stanza. Shots after 2 were 42-14 'Backs.
The final period was relatively uneventful. The Cents would squander a pair of power play opportunities, and the Silverbacks looked keen to bleed out the clock for victory. The ‘Backs would add a late marker from Logan Shaw to ice the game 6-2. Final shots were 53-29 Salmon Arm.
After the game, Assistant Coach Zach Wright said the team is continuing to learn and build.
"We got some young guys out there and they’re playing big minutes. We’re learning and we’re building for the future.”
The Cents renew the rivalry tomorrow night at the NVMA with puck drop slated for 7pm.