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Game 16 Preview: Backs & Vipers

PHOTO: LISA MAZUREK PHOTOGRAPHY

Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks (7-5-3) will look to replicate Wednesday’s performance when they take on the Vernon Vipers (10-4-2) again on Saturday night, in a game that is once again a must-win if the Backs want to catch the Vipers for first place in the pod.

The Backs beat Vernon by a score of 3-1 this past Wednesday, while the Vipers are coming off a 3-2 win over the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday night. Vernon is now five points ahead of Salmon Arm in the standings, but has played one more game.

Tonight’s game has a 6 p.m. puck drop.

Season H2H

Date Score Record Goalie
April 2 4-1 L 0-1-0 Say 22/26
April 7 6-5 OTL 0-1-1 Vanderkooi 27/33
April 10 2-1 OTW 1-1-1 Say 32/33
April 14 6-5 OTL 1-1-2 Say 18/24
April 17 3-2 SOL 1-1-3 Say 29/31
April 20 5-2 L 1-2-3 Say 18/22
April 24 7-5 L 1-3-3 Vanderkooi 29/35
April 28 3-1 W 2-3-3 Say 35/36

Us

Repeat from Wednesday: Although the Silverbacks were out-shot in Wednesday’s win 36-27, the coaching staff was pleased with the team’s attention to detail, their physicality and their willingness to block shots.

“I just liked the details of our game — the stuff that kind of goes unnoticed,” Backs head coach Tyler Shattock said on Friday. “That’s kind of what you need to do to win. We were in a must-win situation if we wanted to compete for first in our pod and it was good to see that the guys came out and had the right mindset of those are the things that are effective for us to win hockey games.”

Shot Clock Doesn’t Tell Whole Story: Vernon out-shot Salmon Arm 13-5 in the third period on Wednesday, but Shattock said you can never judge a game (or period) by the shot clock.

“I think a lot of their stuff came from the outside,” Shattock said. “Both of our expected goal rates were exactly the same…I thought we did a really good job, especially after giving up that late goal in the second. Sometimes that can kind of kill momentum going into the third period but we came out and did the job and did what we needed to do to win.”

Tassy To Join Hirose in NCAA After Junior: On Friday, Silverbacks forward Simon Tassy announced his commitment to Minnesota State University, Mankato. Former Silverbacks captain Akito Hirose just finished his freshman season there, helping the Mavericks qualify for the Frozen Four for the first time since 1991. Tassy sits tied for second in the BCHL in goals with 12.

Them

Vipers Come From Behind Friday: The Vernon Vipers won their 10th game of the season on Friday night, edging the West Kelowna Warriors 3-2. The Warriors had gotten themselves a 2-0 lead early in the second before the Vipers rattled off two goals in 15 seconds. They scored their third consecutive goal halfway through the third to get the win and improve to 10-4-2 this season.

Low Scoring Affair? You Betcha: The Vipers have allowed just 15 goals in their last eight games, a rate of under two per game. They are 6-1-1 in those eight games.

James Porter Jr., the expected starter for Vernon, as he didn’t play Friday, has allowed three total goals in his last four starts.

Leading Scorers

Backs:

Points – Noah Serdachny (22)
Goals – Simon Tassy (12)
Assists – Noah Serdachny (16)

Wins – Owen Say (5)
G.A.A – Owen Say (2.94)
SV% – Owen Say (.902)

Vipers:

Points – Ryan Shostak (15)
Goals – Tyler Carpendale (7)
Assists – Ryan Shostak (11)

Wins – James Porter Jr. (6)
G.A.A. – James Porter Jr. (2.16)
SV% – James Porter Jr. (.925)

Special Teams

Backs:

PP – 19.2% (T-7th) / PK – 68.2% (16th)

Vipers:

PP – 24.4% (4th) / PK – 80% (9th)

Players to Watch

SILVERBACKS: OWEN SAY

Say was the first star the last time these two teams met on Wednesday, stopping 35 of 36. He was particularly strong on a Vipers 5-on-3 man advantage in the second period.

“It’s a pretty obvious point in the game that he came up extremely big for us and we got momentum from it,” Shattock Shattock said. “Teams can come out of there getting two goals and they ended up getting none. He did an outstanding job for us. I think that was the best game for sure that he’s played in the pod. Super calming influence for our group.”

VIPERS: CAM MACDONALD

MacDonald has been quiet against the Backs since the early going, but he had a pair of points two meetings ago on April 24 and he also scored a goal and added an assist last night against the Warriors. The winger has six points in his last four games.

Tune In

As always, all games will be streamed live on BCHL TV, with the Braby Motors pre-game show getting underway at 5:45 p.m. PDT.