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Game Preview: Backs Look For More Complete Effort vs. Vees

Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks wrap up a double-header against the Penticton Vees on Saturday night, after falling 7-0 in the Okanagan Cup opener on Friday.

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

The Skinny

The Silverbacks were inconsistent on Friday, starting with energy, but then they let the Vees take over in large spurts and execute too easily on special teams. Although Salmon Arm had several minutes of solid play at times in the second half of the game, it wasn’t close to being enough.

“I think you saw two about six-minute stretches there — one in the second, one in the third — where the puck was really controlled down in the Penticton end,” Backs assistant coach Carter Cochrane said after Friday’s defeat. “Offensively, it’s something we haven’t worked on a lot. You definitely saw the rawness of our offensive game but also the potential of it. I think the way we use the east-west cycle and the low to high plays, it’s stuff that we were stressing with our group and felt we finally got in the January-February time of last season…And you’re seeing some of the new guys implement that as well.”

Remember, a large portion of the roster doesn’t have Junior A experience yet and Friday was their first game action in over six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think you really saw us struggle with the pace and the speed of the game,” Cochrane said. “I think you saw a lot of guys try to make plays with their heads up but their feet aren’t moving and they’re starting to wonder, ‘Why are guys closing in on me so quickly? Why don’t I have time?’ We’re playing a good team here and we know what these matchups are going to be like moving forward throughout the season. I think it’s just a little bit of an eye-opener for some of our guys.”

They’ll look to change things on Saturday.

Players to Watch

SILVERBACKS: PAUL DORÉ

The Gatineau, Que. native was bumped up in the lineup midway through Friday’s game and did a good job at controlling play in the offensive zone, especially considering it was his first career BCHL game.

“He has a great second effort on pucks,” Cochrane said. “He always seems to be able to stay in the battle and have the awareness of what’s going on around him. He doesn’t tend to get surprised by too many people within a battle, where he can be engaged with one player — tied up — and the second guy comes in and he’s able to understand where that guy is and use his body to protect himself. I think you saw that in his ability to maintain pucks below their goal line and have us come away with possession.”

VEES: MATTEO COSTANTINI

Costantini registered one primary assist on Friday but also was very noticeable on special teams. The former Buffalo Jr. Sabre was recently named an assistant captain for the Vees and committed to the University of North Dakota earlier this week.

Tune In

Pre-game coverage on HockeyTV starts at 5:45 p.m. with puck drop scheduled for 6 p.m.