Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks and West Kelowna Warriors will battle on Saturday night in what will be the Warriors first game of the pod season and the Backs’ second. The last time they met was Nov. 7, the final round robin game of the Okanagan Cup, so it’s been quite some time.
Tonight’s game has a 6 p.m. puck drop.
EXHIBITION SEASON HEAD-TO-HEAD
|Oct. 9||5-4 W||1-0-0||Kohonick 32/36|
|Oct. 10||3-2 L||1-1-0||Kohonick 20/23|
|Nov. 6||3-2 L||1-2-0||Kohonick 22/25|
|Nov. 7||3-1 L||1-3-0||Vanderkooi 20/23|
RECAPPING FRIDAY: The Silverbacks were defeated 4-1 by the Vernon Vipers on Friday night in their season opener, despite scoring the game’s first goal just 2:15 in.
It was Drew Bennett — surprise, surprise — opening the scoring after Tucker Hartmann’s point shot ricocheted off the end boards and landed in front on Bennett’s stick.
Unfortunately that was the only time Salmon Arm would beat goaltender James Porter Jr., who made 32 saves on 33 shots for the Vipers.
Summarizing the game is pretty straightforward: the Silverbacks were the better team at 5-on-5, but they lost the special teams battle — big time. Vernon’s power play went 2-for-3, while the Silverbacks went 0-for-3.
“One team’s power play was good, another team’s penalty kill wasn’t and unfortunately that was both of us,” Silverbacks assistant coach Carter Cochrane said after Friday’s game. “It’s a tough one to win when you lose the special teams battle like that.”
POSITIVES FROM FRIDAY’S DEFEAT:
The Backs play at 5-on-5 was definitely a positive from the contest. They were able to generate offence off the cycle and at times wear down the Vernon defence.
“The entire second period we were possessing pucks down low, we weren’t forcing anything, we were making Vernon defend us 1-on-1 and just really made them work ” Cochrane said. “You’ve got to give credit where credit is due — Porter Jr. came up big a number of times in that second period.”
WARRIORS NEW LOOK TEAM ON PAPER: The Vipers and Backs had few roster changes from the Okanagan Cup to now. With the Warriors, it’s a different story.
No John Evans, no Jack Finley, no Matthieu Stienburg, no Charles-Alexis Legault, no Felix Trudeau, no Connor Joyce. Those are just a few of the more than 10 players that have left the Warriors since November. Most of the changes are up front, so it will be interesting to see who Simon Ferguson and West Kelowna’s coaching staff turns to for offence.
Both goaltenders have stuck with the Warriors, so they have an experienced duo in Zach Bennett and Johnny Derrick
Players to Watch
SILVERBACKS: WILLIAM LAVIGNE
He also showed his creativity in the offensive zone in the third period when he faked out a Vernon forward who thought he was going to shoot and then pulled the puck to the inside and got a good scoring opportunity.
He is one of four rookie d-men for the Backs that showed he’s really been working on his game these past few months.
WARRIORS: ELAN BAR LEV WISE
Bar Lev Wise was named captain earlier this week ahead and will definitely be relied upon for offence this Pod season. He had 10 points in 12 exhibition games and last season had 10 points in 16 games for the Warriors after being traded mid-season by Vernon. He has played 113 career regular season games.
As always, all games will be streamed live on BCHL TV, which is a branch of Hockey TV. If you already have a Hockey TV subscription, you already have one for BCHL TV as well.BACKS &