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silverbacks extend viper losing streak

silverbacks extend viper losing streak

by don klepp | Added 2011-11-26

Darren Nowick had both Viper goals.

Devin Muller’s breakaway goal with 1.8 seconds remaining in overtime gave the visiting Salmon Silverbacks a 3-2 decision over the Vernon Vipers on Friday.

Coming in to the game, both teams had lost four straight and they each displayed a sense of urgency in a hard-hitting affair. The Vipers were credited with 44 hits in the contest while the Silverbacks registered 32.

The Vipers’ aggressive style resulted in six Salmon Arm power plays and the ‘Backs capitalized on two of them.

The first came at 7:58 of the first period. Newly acquired Garrett Hendrickson went hard to the net and was rewarded when the puck landed on his stick after a Kody Dhaliwal shot took a favourable bounce off a player in front.

The second goal came late in regulation. Playing six on four with their net empty, the Silverbacks outmanned the Vipers in front of goal. Sean Flanagan’s point shot found its way through a maze of players and beat Kirby Halcrow low, just inside his left post.

The goal seemed almost inevitable as the Vipers sat on a lead in the third period and the Silverbacks pressed for the equalizer. They out shot the Vipers 9-2 in that period. Emboldened, they matched the Vipers chance for chance in overtime, and won the game when Brendan Kennedy’s stretch pass found Muller streaking down the left wing.

However, it had been a different story in the first two periods as the Vipers took a 2-1 lead while creating 16 scoring chances compared to just 6 Silverback chances. The shots favoured the Vipers, 30 to 15, in the opening 40 minutes.

Darren Nowick, the best player on the ice, had a strong two-way game. He notched both Viper goals, in a span of 1:07 in the second period.

He tied the game at 2:44 when he swooped in to tuck home a Mike Zalewski rebound. The he put the Vipers ahead at 3:51, coming out of a pack of players to the right of goalie Kurt Williams. Nowick made a slick move to beat a defender 10 feet from goal and then slid a low shot inside the right post.

Both teams played shorthanded. Salmon Arm has five players in the sick bay, so they dressed 5 defencemen and 11 forwards. The Vipers were without Luke Juha, Ryan Renz, and Patrick McGillis, so they went with 5 defencemen.

Brendan Persley, who was assigned to the Vipers by the WHL’s Victoria Royals, played his first game in a Vernon uniform since the 2009-10 season. His physical presence was felt and he was named the Viper “Energy Player of the Game.”

Recent acquisitions Shane Hanna, Myles McCauley, and Garrett Hendrickson all played significant roles for Salmon Arm.