The Silverbacks will host the Trail Smoke Eaters tonight at 7pm and tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7pm, as the BCHL Interior Division Round 1 Best-of-7 moves into the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm. The Silverbacks are looking for their first win of the series after falling 4-2 in Game 1 on Friday night, and the visitors fell 7-2 in Game 2 on Saturday night as the series opened at the Cominco Arena in downtown Trail. Salmon Arm has been outscored 11-4 in the first two games after entering the playoffs with 5 straight wins. Each team had just 1 win in Salmon Arm in the regular season series. The Smoke Eaters won 5-2 at the Shaw Centre on January 7th, and the Silverbacks beat Trail 7-2 in Salmon Arm on December 3rd. The season series in Shuswap finished with a 1-1 tie on February 7th. The Smoke Eaters had a regular season road record of 10-15-1-4, while the Silverbacks finished 10-14-2-2 at the Shaw Centre.
Salmon Arm has outscored Trail 3-2 on the power-play to begin the series, but the Silverbacks have allowed 2 short-handed goals-against. The Smoke Eaters have racked up 44 penalty-minutes in the first two games which is the highest total early on in the BCHL playoffs, Salmon Arm has 34 penalty-minutes and is tied for the fourth highest total around the league. Trail’s penalty-kill is at 77-percent and sixth, the Silverbacks are tied for seventh on the PK at 75-percent. Salmon Arm’s man-advantage is ticking at 23-percent and fifth in the playoffs, the Smoke Eaters sit fourth on the power-play at 25-percent.
The Silverbacks will have 4 affiliate players in the lineup on Tuesday. Forwards Daniel Fisher, Colton Thomas and Josh Arnold, as well as defenseman Ante Mustapic. The 17-year-old Mustapic of Vancouver, BC and 17-year-old Arnold of Cloverdale, BC are each currently with the Okanagan Hockey Academy. Thomas is 19-years-old out of Williams Lake, BC and has had his KIJHL season come to an end with the 100 Mile House Wranglers eliminated in Round 1. Fisher is an 18-year-old of Calgary, AB and his KIJHL season with the Revelstoke Grizzlies also ended in Round 1. Both Fisher and Thomas will be with the Silverbacks for the remainder of this season. Fisher along with Brett Didyk got into the lineup this past weekend in Trail, along with defenseman Michael Lenoury on Saturday night. The 18-year-old Lenoury is now into Round 2 in the KIJHL with the Nelson Leafs. And 17-year-old Didyk of Burnaby, BC is currently in the BC Major Midget Hockey League with the Vancouver North East Chiefs.
Games 5, 6 and 7 if needed are set for March 10th, 11th, and 12th. Game 6 would be on Saturday the 11th in Salmon Arm and a 7pm face-off at the Shaw Centre.
The Merritt Centennials have taken a 3-0 series stranglehold over the West Kelowna Warriors, the defending BCHL and National defending champions. Merritt won 6-2 in the Nicola Valley on Monday night, following the Cents 5-4 triple overtime victory in West Kelowna on Saturday, and the Centennials opened with a 6-5 victory on Friday in the Okanagan. Game 4 is set for tonight at 7pm in Merritt.
Salmon Arm Community Radio will continue to broadcast each road game, as well as each home game during the post-season will be live at 93.7 FM and via the www.voiceoftheshuswap.ca Tune into CKVS each Monday at 7pm, and Tuesday at 7am for 30 minutes or more Silverbacks hockey talk. Each Silverbacks game is webcast PPV at www.hockeytv.com