The Silverbacks (16-6-2-1) host the Vernon Vipers (13-13-0-2) tonight at 7 p.m. at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm. Tonight is game one of a back-to-back, home-and-home set with the division rivals. Vernon will host the Silverbacks tomorrow (Saturday) at 6 p.m for the third meeting of the regular season. The ‘Backs lead the season series 1-0, after a 5-4 win in Vernon on Wednesday, October 28th. The Silverbacks and Vipers will meet for the fourth and final time in 2015 on Wednesday, December 9th at 7 p.m. in Vernon.
The Silverbacks are into the fourth week of November, still second in the Interior Divison and fourth overall in the BCHL. The ‘Backs moved up in the national Junior Hockey League rankings this week, now 17th from 18th last week.
The Silverbacks split back-to-back games last weekend, with a 10-1 victory at home over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (10-14-1-1) on Friday and lost 4-3 on Saturday on the road to the Prince George Spruce Kings (7-19-0-2).
The Vipers are coming off of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Penticton Vees (25-2) on Wednesday night in Penticon. The Vipers opened the scoring in the first period, took a two-nothing in the second and lead 3-1 in the third.
The Vipers are 5-4-1-0 in their last 10 games, while the Silverbacks are 6-3-0-1. The ‘Backs are 8-2-2-1 in 15 games at the Shaw Centre, and have outscored their opponents 62-32. Vernon is 6-7-0-1 on the road, and has outscored the opposition 24-22 in 14 games. The Silverbacks are 5-2-0-0 in November, while the Vipers are 4-4-0-1 in their first nine games of the month.
Taro Hirose leads the Silverbacks with five goals and 26 assists in 25 games, one point ahead of Nick Hutchison who has 11 goals, 19 assists in 23 games. Both are among the top 20 scorers in the BCHL, but Hutchison will miss his second consecutive weekend of action with an upper body injury.
Liam Finlay is the Vipers leading scorer with 11 goals and 18 assists in 28 games and 20th overall in the BCHL. Odeen Tufto is one point behind his teammate, with nine goals and 19 assists in 28 games.
The Silverbacks power-play is ranked fifth in the league, at over 22-percent with 31 power-play goals and five short-handed goals against. The Vipers sit 12th with the man-advantage, over 19-percent and 28 power-play goals. Vernon has allowed four short-handed goals against.
The ‘Backs penalty-kill is fourth in the league at almost 84-percent, allowing 22 power-play goals against but lead the BCHL with 10 short-handed markers. Vernon is ranked eighth on the PK, just shy of 81-percent. The Vipers have scored two short-handed goals, and have allowed 25 power-play goals-against.
Earlier this week, Silverbacks defenseman Cameron Trott was chosen as one of 60 players to attend the selection camp of Team Canada West for the World Junior ‘A’ Hockey Challenge. The 18-year-old of Anmore, BC has two goals and 11 assists in 25 games, his first BCHL season. 18 BCHL players have been chosen for the selection camp which begins next weekend, December 5th in Leduc, Alberta.
The Silverbacks will begin December with back-to-back home games, on Saturday the 5th at 7p.m. with the Rivermen and on Sunday afternoon the 6th at 3p.m. versus the Cowichan Valley Capitals (14-8-1-3).
Each Silverbacks and BCHL game is webcast live, PPV http://bchl.fasthockey.com as well as each ‘Backs road game is broadcast live at CKVS 93.7 FM http://voiceoftheshuswap.ca Each home game is broadcast at http://bit.ly/1s0deO7 Tune into CKVS each Monday night throughout the season beginning at 7p.m. for 30 minutes or more of Silverbacks talk, including interviews and news from around the BCHL.