TRAIL, B.C. MARCH 3rd, 2017
The Silverbacks begin the BCHL playoffs tonight and on the road, as Salmon Arm will visit the Trail Smoke Eaters tonight at 7:30 pm and tomorrow night at 7:00 pm in downtown Trail.
The Silverbacks go into the post-season having won five straight, finishing sixth in the 6 team Interior division with a record of 24-28-3-3 but just 2 points behind both the West Kelowna Warriors at 27-29-0-2 and the Merritt Centennials with a record of 23-25-2-8.
The Smoke Eaters finished alone in third at 26-26-1-5, just 4 points ahead of Salmon Arm. Trail finished the regular season with a 7-1 loss on the road last Saturday in Vernon. The Silverbacks won 2 of the 7 regular season meetings with the Smoke Eaters who outscored Salmon Arm 29-22. The Silverbacks won 6-3 in Trail on January 6th and 7-2 at home over the Smoke Eaters on December 3rd. The division rivals finished the season series with a 1-1 tie at the Shaw Centre on February 7th. The Smoke Eaters won 5-2 in Salmon Arm on January 7th, Trail won 10-3 at home over the Silverbacks on November 8th, the Smoke Eaters doubled Salmon Arm 4-2 in Trail on October 28th, and Trail opened the season series with a 4-1 victory in the West Kootenay on October 11th.
The top 2 teams in the Interior, the Penticton Vees who finished at 41-13-1-3 and the Vernon Vipers who had a regular season record of 30-19-4-5 each receive a first round playoff bye. West Kelowna and Merritt will meet in the other Round 1 Best-of-7, as the opening round in the Interior will feature the third ranked team versus the sixth and fourth versus fifth. The top 4 teams in both the Mainland and Island divisions are into the post-season.
The Victoria Grizzlies at 37-12-4-5 finished first on the Island and have home-ice advantage versus the Nanaimo Clippers with a record of 23-28-1-6, as well as the Powell River Kings at 37-19-1-1 will host the Cowichan Valley Capitals who finished at 25-28-2-3. The Wenatchee Wild at 45-9-0-4 lead the league with 94 points and host the Prince George Spruce Kings who finished with a record of 25-27-2-4, with the Chilliwack Chiefs at 41-11-0-6 and the Langley Rivermen at 30-20-2-6 meet in the other Round 1 series in the Mainland division.
The Silverbacks will have affiliate forwards Dan Fisher and Brett Didyk in the lineup this weekend. The 18-year-old Fisher out of Calgary, AB played in 6 Silverbacks regular season games, and had his KIJHL season with the Revelstoke Grizzlies end last night with a Game 5 loss at the Chase Heat. The 17-year-old Didyk is with the Vancouver North East Chiefs in the BC Major Midget League, and played in 4 regular season games with Salmon Arm. The series will include former Silverbacks Josh Laframboise and Carter Cochrane who were dealt to Trail earlier in 2016-2017, as well as Smoke Eaters captain Connor Brown-Maloski and goaltender Zach Dyment who are also former Silverbacks.
Elijiah Barriga earned an honourable mention for BCHL Player of the Week this past week, scoring 4 goals including a hat-trick in the final regular season game last Saturday as the Silverbacks won 5-3 at home over West Kelowna. Barriga had 1 goal in last Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Cowichan Valley, and the 20-year-old finished the regular season with 30 goals and 57 points in all 58 regular season games. Salmon Arm’s Carson Bolduc had 19 goals and 60 points in his final regular season of junior hockey. Trevin Kozlowski finished the regular season with 4 straight wins in goal for Salmon Arm.
The Silverbacks posted a record 6-4-1-0 in February, while Trail was 3-5-1-1 in the final month of the regular season. The Best-of-7, Round 1 series will shift into the Shuswap next week for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 7th and 8th and each 7pm starts at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm. Games 5, 6 and 7 if needed are set for March 10th, 11th, 12th with Saturday the 11th a 7pm face-off at the Shaw Centre.
Each Silverbacks game is webcast PPV at www.hockeytv.com Each road game is broadcast live via the www.voiceoftheshuswap.ca CKVS 93.7 FM, as well as Salmon Arm community radio will also broadcast each Silverbacks playoff home game. Tune into Salmon Arm community radio each Monday at 7pm, Tuesday at 7am for 30 minutes or more Silverbacks hockey talk.