The Silverbacks (19-8-2-1) host the Penticton Vees (28-2-1-0) tonight at 7p.m. at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.
The ‘Backs come into the weekend after a 5-2 victory on the road on Wednesday night over the Vernon Vipers (14-18-0-2). The Vees last game action was on Saturday, December 5th when they tied 4-4 with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (11-17-2-1) in Penticton.
The Vees have two wins and the tie to begin December, while the Silverbacks have one win and two losses in three games. The Vees are unbeaten in five games, after their 23 game win streak was snapped on Friday, November 20th with a 4-2 loss on the road to the Langley Rivermen (18-12-0-0).
The Vees have played and won eight, one goal games with five ending in overtime. The Silverbacks are 5-5-0-1 in their 11, one goal games.
Tonight will mark just the second meeting of the season between Salmon Arm and Penticton. The Silverbacks opened this BCHL season with 4-2 win over the Vees on Friday, September 11th at the Shaw Centre. The ‘Backs lead 1-0 after 20 minutes and 4-1 into the third, as Elijiah Barriga potted a pair in his first BCHL game. Josh Blanchard and Ross Heidt had the others as the Silverbacks finished 1-for-4 on the power-play and 6-for-7 on the penalty kill. The Vees outshot the ‘Backs 35-31 and Brendan Barry took the loss in goal, Barry is now with the Vipers.
The Vees went onto win their next 23 games and are currently the number one ranked team in the BCHL and in the CJHL.
The Vees will be without two of their top three scorers this weekend, as Tyson Jost and defenseman Dante Fabbro were both selected to Team Canada West ahead of the World Junior ‘A’ Hockey Challenge. Jost is tied atop the Vees and BCHL with 24 goals and 36 assists for 60 points in 30 games, while Scott Conway has 25 goals and 35 helpers in 29 games. Fabbro is next with seven goals and 32 assists in 24 games on the back end.
Taro Hirose leads the Silverbacks and is 11th overall in BCHL scoring with seven goals and 31 assists in 30 games. Ross Heidt and Carson Bolduc are next with 33 points each. Heidt leads the ‘Backs with 20 goals in 30 games, while Bolduc has nine goals and 24 assists.
The Silverbacks have a record of 9-4-2-1 at the Shaw Centre, and 13-2-0-1 versus the Interior Division. The Vees are 14-2-0-0 on the road and 15-1-0-0 versus the Interior. Penticton leads the BCHL with 136 goals scored in 31 games, and have the fewest goals against at 69. The ‘Backs have scored 126 goals in 30 games for the second highest total, tied with the Nanaimo Clippers (21-10-0-1) who have won nine straight. The Silverbacks have allowed 84 goals, the fifth lowest goals against in the BCHL.
The Vees power-play leads the BCHL at over 29-percent with 43 power-play goals and 15 goals against with the man-advantage. Penticton’s penalty-kill is at over 87-percent, scoring two short-handed markers and allowing a pair of short-handed goals. The Silverbacks are fifth in the league on power-play and at over 22-percent with 37 power-play goals and 28 against. The ‘Backs penalty-kill is over 82-percent and seventh in the BCHL. The Silverbacks lead the league with 10 short-handed goals, and five against.
The Silverbacks will make their first trip to Penticton on tomorrow (Saturday) December 12th for a 6p.m. start.
Salmon Arm sits second in the Interior Division, with 41 points and 16 back of the first place Vees. The ‘Backs are five points up on the West Kelowna Warriors (17-12-0-2). The Vipers sit fourth, six behind the Warriors and 11 points back of the Silverbacks. The Trail Smoke Eaters (13-17-0-0) are in the fifth spot and trail Vernon by four, while the Merritt Centennials (10-20-0-2) are at the bottom of the Interior but four points behind the Smoke Eaters.
The ‘Backs final weekend before the holiday break begins next Friday, December 18th in Trail at 7:30p.m. And the Silverbacks will host the Powell River Kings (17-11-0-1) on Saturday the 19th at 7p.m.
Each Silverbacks and BCHL game is webcast live, PPV http://bchl.fasthockey.com as well as each ‘Backs road game is broadcast live at CKVS 93.7 FM http://voiceoftheshuswap.ca Each home game is broadcast at http://bit.ly/1s0deO7 Tune into CKVS each Monday night throughout the season beginning at 7p.m. for 30 minutes or more of Silverbacks talk, including interviews and news from around the BCHL.