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Game Preview: Silverbacks Look For Revenge vs. Express

Hunter Sansbury and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks will face off against the Coquitlam Express bright and early on Saturday, with puck drop at the BCHL Showcase Festival set for 10 a.m. (Garrett James Photography)

Salmon Arm, B.C. — Following their 3-2 win over the Wenatchee Wild (5-2-2) on Friday afternoon, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (8-1-1) will face off against the Coquitlam Express (7-2-0) at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton for their final BCHL Showcase Festival game.

The Express are coming off a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Chilliwack Chiefs on Thursday night,  but they did edge the Backs last Saturday 3-2 in overtime on home ice.

This is the second of three head-to-head meetings this season. The Express will visit the Shaw Centre for the final matchup on Jan. 5.

Today’s game has an ultra early start time, with puck drop set for 10 a.m.

 

3 Storylines

1) Making Up For Last Week’s Loss

The Silverbacks did pick up a point in last Saturday’s 3-2 OT loss to the Express, but they’ll no doubt want to grab a win this morning to erase that defeat from their memory.

In the game, the Backs outshot the Express 30-26 and certainly could have won, if not for a strong performance from Coquitlam netminder Clay Stevenson. Salmon Arm was also shorthanded nine times in the game, so discipline is something they’ll want to focus on in this one too.

 

2) Stingy ‘D’

The Silverbacks allowed a season-low 15 shots against on Friday afternoon to the Wenatchee Wild and regardless of how accurate that may have been, it was certainly a noteworthy defensive performance with few mistakes and strong d-zone structure.

The Express, meanwhile, rank fourth in the BCHL in goals-against per game with just 2.44 so they take care of their own end as well (the Backs are third with 2.3). Perhaps, whichever team’s forecheck causes more havoc will prove victorious.

 

3) William Poirier On Fire

Following a two-point performance on Friday, Backs forward Will Poirier moved into second in the entire BCHL in scoring, right behind teammate Noah Wakeford. The Valleyfield, QC native incredibly now has points in each and every game so far this season, giving him a 10-game point streak (8G, 7A). Half of his goals have come on the power play, while two of them have been game-winners.

 

Players to Watch

SILVERBACKS: WILLIAM POIRIER

It’s hard not to pick the guy currently on a league-high 10-game point streak, so that’s exactly what we’ll do.

Not only is Poirier second in the BCHL with 15 points, but he truly plays a full 200-foot game, banging bodies and back-checking hard each and every shift.

 

EXPRESS: MASSIMO RIZZO

The former Penticton Vees captain and Carolina Hurricanes draft pick played in his first regular season game on Thursday and recorded an assist. Last year, he put up 40 points (11G, 29A) in an injury-shortened season that saw him play just 37 games.

Now healthy, the hope for the Express is the Burnaby, B.C. native can replicate or better his point-per-game numbers from 2018-19.

 

 

Upcoming Milestones

Akito Hirose: 4 assists from 75 career BCHL assists

 

Tune In

This morning’s game will be streamed live on HockeyTV, but unfortunately it won’t be on EZ Rock. The two BCHL Showcase games are the only ones this season not broadcast on the radio.