SALMON ARM, BC- It’s been 11 days since the Salmon Arm Silverbacks have been in game action. January 2nd. The Silverbacks defeated the Vernon Vipers 4-1 at home inside the Shaw Centre; it was also the same night that the Backs honoured Garry Davidson, the man that brought Junior A Hockey to Salmon Arm. It was a night for the AP’s, Nic Leggett picked up his first two points of the season, Zakery Anderson scored his first BCHL goal. Owen Say stopped 24 of 25 to earn his BCHL leading 16th win.
Tonight it’s a battle for first place in the Interior division. Both teams have played 27 games this season, and the Silverbacks hold the slight edge in the standings, with one more win (22) than the Vees (21). This is the second meeting of the season as these two teams met on December 10th inside the South Okanagan Events Center. The Silverbacks snatched victory with a last-minute tying goal from Brandon Santa Juana. Simon Tassy scored the only goal in the shootout as the Silverbacks came away with a 4-3 victory.
The BCHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and the Silverbacks made one move during the deadline, as they shipped F Danny Ciccarello (’01) to the Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) for Future Considerations. Ciccarello was then flipped to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL).
The Silverbacks are coming into tonight riding high on a six-game winning streak. This is the third streak of five or more consecutive wins this season, the highest being seven in a row. That streak went from Oct.20 through Nov.6. They have been road warriors this season; they have still yet to lose in regulation on the road, the only blemish coming on the third game of the season when they dropped a 4-3 decision on the road in Vernon. The Backs are a league-best 11-0-1 this season on the road and have outscored their opponents 48-22.
Players to Watch
Brandon Santa Juana: Currently riding a six-game point streak. In that stretch, as amassed 11 points and has had four consecutive multi-point games. Santa Juana produces above a point per game clip, with 31 points in 27 games. Eleven points have come on the man-advantage. After coming over in an off-season trade with the Surrey Eagles, Santa Juana is in his first season with the Backs.
Daniel Panetta: Santa Claus treated the captain well over Christmas. Since break, Panetta has found his scoring touch with five goals in three games, including a hat-trick against Vernon on New Years’ Day. Panetta sits 4th in team scoring with 26 points in 27 games. Last season in the pod, Panetta only found the back of the net four times. With 13 this year, Panetta is on pace to have his best season in junior hockey. His best goal total came in 2019-20 when he tickled twine 18 times when he was a part of the Wellington Dukes. Panetta is in his 5th season of junior hockey and just recently suited up for his 200th ‘Junior A’ game.
Owen Say: Picked up league-leading 16th win in his last time out, lowered his GAA to 2.32 and raised his save percentage to .920. This is Say’s second start of the season against the Vees. He started the aforementioned December 10th game and turned in one of his best starts of the season, stopping 40 of 43. Say sits 16-3-1 on the season.
A Look At The Opposition
The Penticton Vees sit a game behind the Silverbacks in the Interior division, and too like the Silverbacks have not played in over ten days. Their last time out was a 4-3 Shootout loss against the West Kelowna Warriors. The Warriors have had the Vees number lately, beating the Vees three of the last four games. The pair of teams played each other four consecutive times. Tonight is only their second home game on the schedule out of the next nine games. They made a couple of moves at the Trade Deadline, their biggest addition being defenceman Brian Doyle. Doyle, 20, played the first half of the season with the Boston University Terriers, recording one assist in eight games. Doyle was drafted in the 6th round by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2019 National Hockey League Entry Draft. To make room, they shipped (’01) defenceman Anthony Allepot to the Chilliwack Chiefs for future considerations.