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Game Preview: Backs and Vipers Meet Again

Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks (19-9-2) host the Vernon Vipers (14-12-2) for the first time this season on Saturday night at the Shaw Centre.

This is the second of six head-to-head meetings this season, and comes just eight days after a back-and-forth affair that ended in a 2-1 shootout victory for Vernon on Nov. 22 at Kal Tire Place.

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

Last Time Out

The Backs are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Langley Rivermen on home ice on Friday, a game where they started and finished well, but struggled in the middle.

They made it a 3-2 game with 1:14 to go in the third, but couldn’t quite tie the game, resulting in their fourth straight loss.

A Closer Look

The Backs wrap up a busy November, as tonight will be their 12th game of the month.

Six of the Silverbacks nine regulation losses have come this month.

Silverbacks special teams played a role last night, with the power play going 0-for-5. The club has just five power play goals in their last 11 games (5-for-51).

Noah Wakeford scored his 12th goal of the season last night and is now tied with Akito Hirose for the team lead in points with 32.

On home ice this season, the Backs are 13-4, but in November they are 4-3 at the Shaw Centre.

The Opposition

The Vipers are coming of a 4-3 regulation loss to the Surrey Eagles on Friday. They also lost to Langley last weekend, falling 3-1 while getting outshot 34-20.

Matt Kowalski leads the team in goals (13) and points (25). Connor Marritt ranks second in both categories, with nine goals and 21 points.

The Vipers power play continues to struggle, going 0-for-3 last night and now sits at 11.4% on the season (second-last in the BCHL).

Vernon is 9-7-2 on the road this season. They are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games.

Notable Versus Vernon

The Backs have only met the Vipers once this season, in what was a goaltending duel between Ethan Langenegger and Riley Herbst.

Last year in the regular season, the Silverbacks went 5-1 head-to-head against Vernon, with three of those games needing extra time. In the three games at the Shaw Centre, the Backs went 3-0, winning 4-3 in overtime on Oct. 21, 4-3 in overtime again on Nov. 10 and 3-2 in regulation on Dec. 16.

Players to Watch

SILVERBACKS: NICK MARTINO

Martino has been centering Luke Mylymok and Nick Unruh as of late, and the trio have been able to create offence. On Friday, Martino was one of the Backs best forwards and recorded an assist on Wakeford’s 12 goal of the year after he won a key face-off. The rookie has 10 points this season in 19 games.

VIPERS: MATT KOWALSKI

Kowalski had the only regulation goal for Vernon in the first meeting of the season between these teams. At the time, it increased his point streak to five games. He has kept it going, now with points in seven straight games (6G, 2A).

Upcoming Milestones

Nick Unruh: 4 points from 100 career BCHL points

Noah Wakeford: 3 games from 125 career BCHL games

Current Point Streaks

Noah Wakeford: 3 games (2G, 1A)

Tune In

Pre-game coverage on EZ Rock starts at 5:30 p.m. with puck drop scheduled for 6 p.m. The game will also be streamed live on HockeyTV.