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Backs Clinch Playoff Spot

The Silverbacks (20-28-3-3) visit the Penticton Vees (38-12-1-2) tonight at 6pm in the South Okanagan, less than 24 hours after the Silverbacks secured the final playoff spot in the Interior. Salmon Arm won 4-0 at home over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (16-29-2-7) Friday night at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.

Neither team found the back of the net in the first frame, Alberni Valley outshot the Silverbacks 13-8. Akito Hirose opened the scoring with his second of the season at 7:22 of the second period. Salmon Arm lead 1-0 into the third, and the Silverbacks outshot the Bulldogs 13-11 in the second.

Nathan Iannone’s third of season put the home team ahead 2-0 at 9:00 of the third, Justin Wilson’s 15th went into the empty Alberni Valley net at 16:15, and Connor Sundquist finished the scoring with his 11th at 18:15. Salmon Arm lead 17-3 on the shot clock in the third and outshot the Bulldogs 38-27 total. Nic Tallarico made 27 saves for his second shutout in as many weekends. Salmon Arm won 3-0 in Port Alberni last Saturday. The Silverbacks power-play finished 0-for-5, while the penalty-kill was 3-for-3.

The Vees shutout the West Kelowna Warriors (26-26-0-2) 5-0 on Friday in Penicton. The Silverbacks have won 3 of the first 5 regular season meetings, outscoring the Vees 17-13. Penticton won the last meeting 3-2 in overtime in the South Okanagan on December 16th, the Silverbacks won 4-3 in double overtime in Penticton on December 2nd. Tonight will be the second of 3 games in as many days for the Silverbacks and the third of 4 games in 5 days. The Silverbacks will host the Merritt Centennials (20-24-2-8) tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon at 3pm in Salmon Arm.

The top two teams in the Interior will receive a first round playoff bye, third place will meet sixth and fourth versus fifth in Best-of-7 series to begin the post-season. The fifth place team on the Mainland had an opportunity to crossover into the first round in the Interior. The Surrey Eagles (17-34-0-4) sit fifth but now cannot catch Salmon Arm. The Silverbacks also officially eliminated the Bulldogs from playoff contention on the Island.

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, Tuesday at 7am for 30 minutes or more Silverbacks hockey talk.