The second-round B.C. Hockey League playoff series between the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and the Vernon Vipers finished the same way it started, with a game that went to overtime knotted at three goals apiece.
But this time, the Vipers found themselves on the losing side.
Vernon’s season is now over after a 4-3 overtime defeat to the Silverbacks Friday night, April 21, at Salmon Arm’s Shaw Centre.
After the Vipers took Game No. 1 in overtime, the Silverbacks took over the series, winning four straight games to earn a spot in the third round against the Penticton Vees, who are a perfect 8-0 in the playoffs.
The Shaw Centre was filled with 2,150 fans who watched their team advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2011.
Lee Parks started the scoring for the Vipers with an unassisted tally, his seventh of the postseason. Parks scored as he was stepping out of the penalty box and slid the puck past Silverbacks goalie Matthew Tovell for a 1-0 Vipers lead eight minutes into the first.
Less than two minutes later, Hayden Stavroff scored an unassisted goal of his own, his fifth of the playoffs, to even the score at 1-1.
Late in the first period, Maddux Martin was able to put home a rebound to give the Backs their first lead of the game.
The second period was book-ended by a pair of Vipers goals. The first came just past the three-minute mark off the stick of Julian Facchinelli, his third of the postseason, assisted by Luke Ashton and Anson McMaster. The second was scored by Dylan Compton just past the 17-minute mark, his second of the playoffs, fed by Isaac Tremblay.
The Vipers looked to hold onto their 3-2 advantage in the third period, but it was Nic Leggett who tied the game up with his first of the postseason near the nine-minute mark, assisted by Stavroff.
That sent the game to overtime, and the Backs wasted no time putting an end to the extra frame. Just 25 seconds into overtime, Mathieu Bourgault scored the series-winning goal on a wrap-around, his second of the postseason, assisted by Reid Varkonyi.
The goal put an end to the Vipers’ season, while the Backs will now prepare to face the powerhouse Vees in the Interior Conference Finals.
The Backs will travel to Penticton to take on the Vees next Friday night.