The Silverbacks (19-27-3-3) settled for a split on Vancouver Island this past weekend. Salmon Arm lost 5-3 to the Victoria Grizzlies (35-11-4-3) yesterday afternoon in the BC capital, less than 24 hours after the Silverbacks shutout the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (16-27-2-7) 3-0 on Saturday night in Port Alberni. Victoria opened the scoring with two goals in a span of 29 seconds in the opening period, the first with a 5-on-3 man-advantage and the second with a 5-on-4 power-play goal. Max Wutzke and Elijiah Barriga each were off for tripping. The Grizzlies took the 2-0 lead into the second period, outshooting Salmon Arm 15-6. The home team went ahead 3-0 just 2:40 into the middle frame. Carson Bolduc got the Silverbacks on the board with his 17th and unassisted at 4:54, cutting the deficit to 3-1. But Victoria finished the scoring in the second with goals at 8:19 and 18:14. The Grizzles took a 5-1 lead into the final frame, outshooting the Silverbacks 14-9 in the middle period. Jared Turcotte’s 12th of the season put Salmon Arm back within three, 5-2 at 3:30 of the third. And Bolduc finished the scoring at 16:27 with his second of the game, 18th of the season and fourth in back-to-back games. The Silverbacks outshot the Grizzlies 13-10 in the third, but Victoria outshot Salmon Arm 39-28 total and Nic Tallarico suffered the loss in goal. The Silverbacks power-play finished 0-for-3, while the penalty-kill was 3-for-5 on Sunday. Victoria takes the season series after winning 4-2 in Salmon Arm at the end of October.
Grayson Constable spent the weekend in Salmon Arm with an injury after last weekend on the Mainland. Defensemen Riley Hayles and Julian Timba are each out for the remainder of the regular season with injuries. Affiliates Daniel Fisher and Cody Schiavon stepped up into the Silverbacks lineup on the weekend. Schiavon is a 16-year-old defenseman with the Okanagan Rockets in the BCMML, and Fisher is an 18-year-old forward with the Revelstoke Grizzlies in the KIJHL.
Salmon Arm now has a record of 1-3-0-1 in February, 12-14-1-1 on the road, and 3-5-0-1 versus the Island Division.
The Silverbacks have one last regular season trip to island remaining, after Friday’s game at the Cowichan Valley Capitals (22-26-2-3) was postponed due to closed highways around the province. Salmon Arm will now visit Duncan on Wednesday, February 22nd for a 6pm face-off.
The Silverbacks have 44 points in 52 games and sit sixth in the Interior. Salmon Arm needs a combination of earning three points or three losses by the Surrey Eagles (17-33-0-4) to secure the final playoff spot. The top two teams in the Interior will receive a first round bye, with third place meeting sixth and fourth versus fifth in Best-of-7 series to begin the post-season. The Eagles won 6-4 at home over the Prince George Spruce Kings (23-24-2-4) on Sunday. Surrey is fifth in the Mainland and the fifth place team on the Mainland has an opportunity to crossover into the first round in the Interior.
Salmon Arm’s next home game is set for this coming Wednesday, February 15th with the West Kelowna Warriors (25-25-0-2) at 7pm at the Shaw Centre. Each Silverbacks game is webcast PPV at hockeytv.com Each road game is broadcast live via voiceoftheshuswap.ca CKVS 93.7 FM and each home game is available audio only at mixlr.com/salmon-arm-silverbacks/Tune into Salmon Arm community radio each Monday at 7pm, and Tuesday at 7am for 30 minutes or more Silverbacks hockey talk.