The Salmon Arm Silverbacks stayed alive in the BCHL’s Interior Division playoff with a 6-4 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters on Wednesday at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.
Trail now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1, and returns to the Cominco Arena Friday night, looking to eliminate the Silverbacks in Game 5.
“We’re happy with the win in Salmon Arm, and in hockey, the hardest thing to do is end a team’s season, and we know that they’re not going to give up. It’s going to be a tough game, and we have to make sure we bring the same effort that we did in the third period Tuesday night.”
Josh Latta scored twice including the winning goal at 10:39 of the third period to give the Silverbacks their first series victory.
The Smokies took a 1-0 lead at 14:03 of the first period when Blaine Caton converted a Carter Cochrane and Korbyn Chabot setup. However, Salmon Arm answered less than a minute later on Nathan Iannone’s second goal of the playoff.
Carson Bolduc made it 2-1 Silverbacks before the period was out as Salmon Arm outshot the Smokies 9-7 in the period. Salmon Arm came out inspired in the second and Ryan Hogg gave the home team a 3-1 lead on the power play at 12:42. Luke Santerno brought the Smokies back within one on a Smoke Eater power play beating Nic Tallarico with Carter Cochrane and Mitch Stapley assisting. Salmon Arm outshot Trail 15-9 in the period.
Colton Thomas restored the two-goal lead but Connor Brown-Maloski notched his fourth of the playoff to make it 4-3 at 10:22. However, 17 seconds later Latta fired a pass from Grayson Constable past Linden Marshall to restore the two-goal cushion.
Santerno scored his second of the night with less than five minutes remaining to again bring the Smoke Eaters within one, but Latta iced it with 2:31 to play for the 6-4 win. Trail outshot the Silverbacks 19-5 in the third, and 35-29 in the match, going 1-for-3 on the power play, while Salmon Arm was 2-for-5.
Kale Howarth was injured in Tuesday’s game and his status is uncertain for Friday, while Kyle Chernenkoff and Ryan Moon are out with injuries.
“We just take it game-by-game right now,” said Keith. “We don’t want to give them any momentum, and thinking they have a chance to comeback … In sports anything can happen.”
The Trail Smoke Eaters host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cominco Arena. In the event the Silverbacks push it to a Game 7, the series will return to Trail with the puck drop at 7 p.m. on Sunday.