Two teams will look to open the new year with a win.
Salmon Arm entered the Christmas break falling 3-1 to the Langley Rivermen in the George Preston Arena. Prior to that game they had defeated the Vernon Vipers Sunday afternoon extending their winning streak against their Southern rivals giving them a 5-0 record against Vernon.
Matthew Verboon remains away from the team on International duty after Team Switzerland beat Sweden in the quarter-finals to move onto the semis. Switzerland is in action today playing Finland at 5pm. Verboon leads the Silverbacks in scoring with 29 points this season.
The Penticton Vees finished 2018 with a home and home series against the West Kelowna Warriors. Penticton won both games winning 7-2 at home and 4-3 in West Kelowna. The Vees are first in the Interior Division with 51 points through 38 games.
Heading into 2019, Salmon Arm is fifth in the Interior Division. The team has 38 points through 36 games. The 36 games played is the fewest in the BCHL. The game Friday kicks off a busy January for the Silverbacks with 11 games in the span of 23 days. There are three straight weeks of triple headers with Salmon Arm playing Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoons.
Both teams have played each other once at home this season. Salmon Arm beat the Vees in a shootout back in October. All three of the Silverbacks shooters scored while Ethan Langenegger was able to stop one shot for the win. A month later in November, the Vees had an empty netter to cap the game and won 4-2.
Players to Watch:
Silverbacks: Returning from a four games suspension tonight is Olson Werenka. He last played December 9th against the Surrey Eagles and received a four game suspension for exceeding his accumulated penalty totals under the Jr A Supplement. He is second in scoring for Silverbacks amongst defencemen. His last goal came against Penticton, and Aiden Jenner will aim to add some more offence against Penticton. He has points in both games against the Vees this season, with one assist in the first meeting setting up Matthew Verboon’s power play marker.
Vees: It took a while for Cole Shepard to get rolling, but once he did he didn’t look back. Held to three assists in his first 16 games, he now has 15 points in the last 17 games and is sixth in team scoring. The Harvard commit has great speed and had a number of good chances in the first meeting between the two teams. He missed the second meeting as he was away at the U-17 Challenge. Leading all defenceman in scoring this season is James Miller. Recently committing to Northern Michigan University, the defenceman has slowed down a bit the last four games with one goal and one assist in that stretch. He has 46 points in 38 games this season from the blue line.
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