|One of many efforts by Steven Iacobellis, the 'Backs best player on Saturday.|
Salmon Arm's lead over the Trail Smoke Eaters in the Interior Division Playoff race still sits at four points following a night off for Trail and a 6-3 loss on home ice for the 'Backs against the Victoria Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies looked like a team primed to go far in the BCHL post-season; they were physical, fast, defensively sound and offensively opportunistic.
The SilverBacks twice battled back to come within a single goal in the game - after going down by two in the first period, but gave up a pair of goals to Leo Fitzgerald in the 2nd period that seemed to seal their fate.
Steven Iacobellis and Alex Gillies both had three points nights for the SilverBacks, who likely played their best hockey in the offensive zone, especially on the power-play.
- For the fourth game in a row; the 'Backs surrendered the opening goal. David Mazurek knocked home a loose puck in the slot for a 1-0 Victoria advantage.
- The Grizzlies had a goal dis-allowed moments later, following a whistle with the puck loose in Adam Clark's equipment.
- The no-goal call doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but it does paint a picture of what kind of 1st Period Salmon Arm found themselves in, as Victoria made it 2-0 just three minutes after the opening marker on another loose puck around the net.
- SilverBack Centre Evan Anderson left the game on the next shift, when he took an un-penalized hit to the head from Victoria's Stefan Nicolishen.
- While the 'Backs didn't manage a shot for a long portion of the period, they did bring the game within a goal in the dying minutes, when Steven Iacobellis found the twine on a second rebound during the 'Backs first power-play.
- Our chippy game continued immediately, when Zach Urban hit Jeff Kennedy from behind on another play that was not penalized. Bryden Marsh took exception and threw some punches at Urban who didn't reciprocate. Marsh was given five for fighting and two for instigating, creating a seven minute power-play for the Grizzlies.
- Salmon Arm deserves credit for its penalty killing, while they gave up a goal, a seven minute penalty kill means using your entire roster to get the job done. Victoria made it a 3-1 on a shot that appeared to hit a stick on the way to the net.
- We probably got our best hockey of the night after the penalty was over, with Salmon Arm building momentum before scoring on its second power-play. Alex Gillies found a hole on Brady Rouleau to make it 3-2 and bring some serious excitement to the Shaw Centre.
- It was short lived. Victoria scored on the next shift, :28 later. Myles Fitzgerald threw the puck in front to his brother Leo for an easy tap-in and a 4-2 game.
- Leo Fitzgerald delivered the real dagger on the night, as he scored again with less than a minute remaining in the period to make it 5-2, with a shot on a partial break-away that ended the night of Adam Clark.
|This doesn't look like a ton of fun.|
- Down three goals, the 'Backs really needed a goal in the first five minutes, and they came pretty close, chucking 15 shots at Rouleau in the period, but never scoring until after giving up a 6th goal against.
- Salmon Arm's top line of Mistal, Iacobellis and Gillies played some determined hockey on the night, fore-checking well and creating many of the 3rd period chances.
- Brandon Mistal's top chance to hit the scoreboard came earlier in the game on a great pass by Iacobellis who found his Captain all alone, only to have Mistal's shot forced just wide of the post.
- The 'Backs best opportunity to make a game of it came with a shot that went right through Rouleau, along the line, and out the other side.
- Victoria made it 6-2 on a shot off the rush by Keyler Bruce, who beat Angus Redmond up high.
- Alex Gillies' second goal of the evening came at even strength, when he tipped home a Blake Box point shot for a 6-3 final.
|Salmon Arm really couldn't buy a bounce this week.|
Saturday's game was the kind that not many people would want to officiate. At times we watched some downright ugly hockey, and while Victoria got away with a few questionable hits, by the time we got into the 3rd period there weren't many collisions by either team that would pass in the average game.
Salmon Arm is the BCHL's youngest team while Victoria is the league's second oldest, and at times in this game it was clearly evident. While the 'Backs may have been shell-shocked early, they answered well with their own physical play as the game evolved.