Nick Unruh converted for the Silverbacks on a sweet backhander, while Vernon captain Jagger Williamson shot wide after getting a do-over of all things. Officials blew down Williamson’s first attempt as he appeared to lose the puck at the blue line with the Silverbacks’ bench screaming for a whistle. After huddling together, the officials ruled Williamson had not lost forward motion with a trailing puck.
“That was an insane game,” said Williamson. “I thought we played well. Five-on-five, we were the better team and our power play was money. It sucks letting it slip away like that. That’s six valuable points we’ve let go in overtime and shootouts. Having them tie it with nine seconds left, it’s tough, but we’ll learn from this and move forward.”
Trevor Adams, from 12 feet in front of Porter after a nifty pass from behind the net by Verboon, gave the Silverbacks the lead six minutes after the national anthem. Hudson Schandor, who actually had more moves than Jagger on the night, drew the secondary helper.
The Vipers equalized on a power play with 33 seconds left in the opening 20 when d-man Carver Watson took a feed on the half-wall from D Jack Judson, took a few strides and fired his first of the season. The shot appeared to hit a body in front.
Streu put Vernon ahead on a late second-period powerplay, ripping a one-timer from the ringette line on a pass from Williamson.
The Silverbacks pulled Armitage for a sixth attacker with 65 seconds to play in the third stanza and Connor Marritt just missed on a long shot with Armitage on his way to the bench.
Porter made a couple of big saves in tight and got one or two shot blocks from his defencemen as the Silverbacks pressed to level things. Verboon was wide open on the left side and connected on an unassisted tally.
“We had all those chances and we just kept shooting,” said Verboon, on the wild fray. “They were tired so we took advantage of that.”
Jonathon Krahn retrieved a loose puck behind the net, stepped in front and fooled Porter with a rolling shot with 4:55 remaining in regulation.
The Vipers stormed back a few minutes later when defenceman Michael Young tricked Armitage with a low shot from the point after Elan Bar Lev-Wise performed a spin move to keep the puck onside at the Salmon Arm blue line after taking a long pass from Alex Swetlikoff.
Salmon Arm enjoyed the best chances in 3-on-3 overtime with former Viper D Sol Seibel stymied by Porter in tight and Adams striking the left post with a wrister. The Silverbacks struggled on the power play all night (o-for-7) and failed in the final 97 seconds of OT after Williamson was assessed a hooking minor. That penalty came seconds after Williamson looked at a referee for a call when D Olson Werenka got in his face.
Werenka was among Canada’s Most Wanted, according to Vernon fans, who cheered loudly when he was given a high sticking minor and misconduct late in the second period.
Earlier in the frame, Werenka levelled Bar Lev-Wise with an open-ice hit and was then grabbed by towering defenceman Landon Fuller, who started throwing punches. Fuller drew a fighting major and instigator minor, while Werenka was given an interference penalty for his hit on Bar Lev-Wise.
Schandor riverdanced through a maze of Vipers on a delayed penalty midway through the third period but ran out of real estate as he confronted Porter.
Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 39-31. The Vipers visit the Coquitlam Express Friday night and take on the Rivermen Saturday night in Langley.
The Silverbacks tangle with the host Chilliwack Chiefs Saturday night.