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Game 5 Preview: Backs & Vipers

PHOTO: LISA MAZUREK PHOTOGRAPHY

Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Vernon Vipers will meet one another for the third time this season on Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.

The Silverbacks are 1-2-1 so far this year, while the Vipers are 3-1.

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

SEASON HEAD-TO-HEAD

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

NOTABLE

Encore? The Silverbacks came all the way back from a 5-1 deficit on Wednesday afternoon against Vernon, but were eventually edged 6-5 in OT.

Another 11 goal outburst from the two rivals is probably not in the cards, however a significant amount of goals could very well happen. The Vipers have scored 17 through four games and the Silverbacks have nine in their last two.

Both teams are also deep: Salmon Arm has had seven different players score so far, while Vernon has had 12 (!!). With that track record, it’s tough to think goals won’t continue to flow, at least a bit.

Scoring Up League Wide: It’s not just the Backs and Vipers that have been scoring as of late. Perhaps due to all the time for skill work the past few months, the BCHL as a whole has seen a lot of goals so far in the pod season. The league is averaging nearly 3.6 goals for per game, up from 3.17 last season. Just under half a goal may not sound like much on a per game basis, but over time, it’s more than you think.

Keep Pucks Low Vs. Vipers: Just like last time these teams met, a key for the Silverbacks will be to out-work Vernon for inside ice and out-work them around the net.

“Working to that inside ice and playing below their goal line and below their ringette line [is key],” Silverbacks head coach Tyler Shattock said.. “We have to work for everything that we’re going to get. That’s good for our group. We want to play that way.”

Dach-tastic Performance: Silverbacks rookie forward Noah Serdachny leads the team in scoring through four games with seven points. A couple stats that show how impressive he’s been: I) he has a point in every game so far and II) he’s the only 03′ born player currently in the top-25 in the BCHL in scoring. He ranks tied for fifth in the league with his seven points.

Vipers Coming Off First Defeat: Vernon lost its first game of the pod season on Friday afternoon 4-2 to the Warriors. Things were all square at two near the end of the second, before defenceman Tyson Jugnauth scored on the power play to make it 3-2. With the Vipers down 4-2 late in the third, forward Cam MacDonald was awarded a penalty shot, but couldn’t cut into the lead after being stoned cold by Zach Bennett.

Players to Watch

SILVERBACKS: KIERAN RUSCHEINSKI

The veteran defenceman has not only logged a ton of difficult minutes alongside captain Hunter Sansbury, but he’s also developed a mean streak this season, having flattened a couple opponents in his last couple games.

“He’s been an absolute horse for us since we resumed here,” assistant coach Carter Cochrane said following Thursday’s win. “He’s showing that he can handle 25 minutes a night…I think we’re really starting to see the full package of potential that he has and the way that he can impact the game defensively.”

VIPERS: RYAN SHOSTAK

Shostak has registered two points in each game against the Backs so far this season, including two power play goals. The Calgary native had six points in 14 games in the exhibition season but is already up to five points through four regular season 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. BCHL TV is powered by Hockey TV, so if you have a Hockey TV subscription, you already have one for BCHL TV as well.