The Silverbacks (9-14-0-0) host the Merritt Centennials (8-11-1-3) tonight (Saturday) at 7pm at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm, less than 24 hours after the Silverbacks got back into the win column with a 3-2 victory over the Cents in the Nicola Valley.
Mitch Skapski opened the scoring just 28 seconds into the first period on Friday night, the Silverbacks captain with his 8th of the season. Merritt tied the game 1-1 just over two minutes after Skapski’s goal, a power-play goal at 2:46 with Ryley Booth off for hooking.
The Centennials outshot the Silverbacks 13-12 in the first frame. Elijiah Barriga’s 11th put the visitors back in front at 12:44 of the middle period. But the home team tied the game 2-2 in the final 30 seconds of the second period. Merritt outshot Salmon Arm 14-13 in the second period.
The game winning goal came from Carson Bolduc, with his 7th just 34 seconds into the final frame.
The Silverbacks outshot the Cents 10-9 in the third, but Merritt finished ahead 36-35 total. Brandon Kegler started in goal on Friday but was relieved by Trevin Kozlowski to begin the third. Kegler allowed two goals on 27 shots, Kozlowski stopped 9 shots in the third. Salmon Arm’s power-play was 1-for-3, while the penalty-kill was 2-for-3.
Friday’s victory snapped the Silverbacks five game losing skid, but the Silverbacks have lost their last four games at the Shaw Centre. The ‘Backs have two wins and eight losses in their first 10 games on home ice. Merritt has now lost it’s last eight games overall, and the Cents are 5-7-1-1 on the road.
Merritt won 4-3 in Salmon Arm on Tuesday, October 18th, and the Centennials won 5-2 at the Shaw Centre on Friday, September 30th in the season series opener.
Josh Blanchard will be back in action on Saturday, the 20-year-old was suspended three games for fighting at the end of the period at home to the Warriors earlier this month and also one game for being involved in the second fight during the same stoppage.
Josh Latta and Julian Timba each remain out with upper body injuries.
Darrell Hay and Brooks Christensen will be behind the bench this weekend. Brandon West was relieved of his head coaching duties on Wednesday morning.
Each Silverbacks game is webcast PPV at hockeytv.com/#/, each road game is broadcast live via voiceoftheshuswap.caCKVS 93.7FM and each home game is avail audio only at mixlr.com/salmon-arm-silverbacks/