Eli Pulver steals game three as Salmon Arm edge Warriors 2-1

Warriors snakebitten in loss

Eli Pulver committed highway robbery Tuesday night.

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks netminder single-handedly stole game three away from the West Kelowna Warriors with a spectacular 42 save performance in a 2-1 victory Tuesday for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Pulver made half a dozen game-saving stops including a Brennan Nelson breakaway in the first and backdoor one-timers off the sticks of Felix Caron and Jack Pridham.

Trent Wilson, staring at a wide open net, fanned on a cross crease while Dylan Krayer had the puck bounce on his with Pulver at his mercy at the back end of a two-on-one.

Sometimes you just tip your hat and try to flip the script the next night.

"You've got to give the kid between the pipes some credit. That's a heck of a performance out of their goaltender," sayd assistant coach Ayrton Nikkel.

"I thought we did a really good job of getting some dirty pucks on his feet, rebounds, crashing the net, point shots getting through, traffic.

"I thought we played a very good 60 minute game. A couple of break downs on their goals and other than that the kids played great."

The game was reminiscent of game seven of the Cranbrook series in the way the Warriors were able to control the offensive zone for much of the first 40 minutes. The difference, not much to show for it.

The Silverbacks scored the only two goals of the first period despite being outshot 16-6 as a couple of unfortunate bounces led to both goals.

Jonah Aegerter got the Silverbacks on the board midway through the first.

Aegerter had a partial breakaway from the blueline in, harassed from behind by Warriors defenceman Jack Farrell. Matthew DellaRusso made the initial stop, however the rebound deflected off Farrell's stick back into DellaRusso who inadvertently knocked it into the net when he squeezed his pads shut.

In the dying minutes of the first Cole Cooksey knocked down a waist-high clearing attempt inside the offensive zone, moved to the left circle and sent a wrist shot past DellaRusso.

The Warriors threw everything the had at Pulver in the second especially during three power plays and were finally rewarded when Carter Oakenhold, stationed on the right boards found Pridham in the slot. His one-timer beat Pulver with five seconds left in the Warriors fourth power play of the night.

They managed just nine shots at Pulver in the third as the Silverbacks did everything to protect the one goal lead.

West Kelowna outshot Salmon Arm 43-16 on the night.

The Warriors were again without goaltender Rorke Applebee who continues to nurse a lower body injury and Cal Hughes who is out with an illness. Defenceman Sean Koehane also missed the game with a lower body injury suffered in game two.

The two teams meet again Wednesday for game four in Salmon Arm.

Game five is set for Royal LePage Place Friday night.

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