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Game Preview: Silverbacks Kick Off Okanagan Cup

Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks kick off their Okanagan Cup on Friday night in Penticton against the Vees. It is the first double-header of the exhibition tournament, with both games on the road at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Backs will be playing their first game since March 3, when they swept the Victoria Grizzlies in the opening round of the BCHL playoffs with a 3-2 win.

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

The Skinny

With this being the first BCHL game for both clubs in over six months, it’s tough to know exactly what to expect with tonight’s game. Both teams have plenty of new faces too, with the Silverbacks returning just six players, and the Vees returning six skaters and one goaltender.

For Salmon Arm, forwards Drew BennettSam SchofieldLogan Shaw and Simon Tassy are back, plus defenceman Kieran Ruscheinski and newly named captain Hunter Sansbury. Bennett and Shaw were named assistant captains earlier this week.

The Backs had a number of major off-season acquisitions, including Braden Fischer, Carter Loney, Daniel Panetta and veteran goaltender Riley Kohonick, as well as some top-end recruits, including Mathieu Bourgault, Danny Ciccarello, Joaquim Lemay, Lucas Matta and Noah Serdachny. Loney brings a commitment to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, while Panetta has an NCAA commitment to Colgate University. On the backend, Matta has a commitment to Northern Michigan University, while Lemay is committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Returning to the Vees are forwards Liam Malmquist, Drew Elser, Tyler Ho, Jackson Niedermayer and Tristan Amonte, while on the blue line they get Ethan Martini back, plus goaltender Yaniv Perets.

The Vees biggest off-season trade was the acquisition of 17-year-old Finn Williams from the Prince George Spruce Kings — a University of Michigan Commit who was named captain earlier this month. Other key trades saw them acquire forward Luc Wilson from the Cowichan Valley Capitals, plus defencemen Owen Murray and Ben Wozney, from the Portage Terriers and Powell River Kings, respectively. Penticton currently has 16 NCAA commitments on its roster.

Players to Watch

SILVERBACKS: CARTER LONEY

The Silverbacks acquired Loney this off-season from the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons after winning the league’s Rookie of the Year award and he has come as advertised. The 5-foot-10 forward, who was just named an assistant captain for the Backs, has a plethora of skill, but has also impressed the coaching staff with his work ethic and play away from the puck.

VEES: QUINN HUTSON

The Boston University commit enters his first year in the BCHL and scored three goals in five intra-squad games for the Vees.

Tune In

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