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Home & Home Series vs Merritt


The Silverbacks (8-14-0-0) begin a home-and-home set with the Merritt Centennials (8-10-1-3) tonight (Friday) in the Nicola Valley at 730pm.

Salmon Arm will host Merritt tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7pm at the Shaw Centre.

The Silverbacks have now lost five consecutive games, after a 10-3 loss on the road at the Trail Smoke Eaters (12-9-0-1) on Tuesday night. Darrell Hay and Brooks Christensen will be behind the bench this weekend. Brandon West was relieved of his head coaching duties on Wednesday morning.

Spencer Hora will return to the lineup tonight (Friday), the first season Silverbacks defenseman was suspended two games for fighting at the end of the second period last week at home to West Kelowna. Josh Blanchard will be back in action tomorrow (Saturday), after the 20-year-old was suspended three games for fighting at the end of the period and also one game for being involved in the second fight during the same stoppage.

The Silverbacks are 6-6-0-0 on the road. Merritt has a record of 3-3-0-2 in the Nicola Valley. The Centennials have lost their last seven games, Merritt’s last win came in Salmon Arm in October. Merritt won 4-3 in Salmon Arm on Tuesday, October 18th. Salmon Arm fell 5-2 at home to the Centennials on Friday, September 30th in the season series opener.

The Silverbacks opened the scoring in the first period in Trail, Cameron Trott’s third of the season at 4:56 gave the visitors their first and only lead of the night. Luke Santerno of the Smoke Eaters tied the game 1-1 at 8:16 and Santerno put the home team ahead 2-1 at 9:04. The Smoke Eaters outshot the Silverbacks 17-11 in the first period.

Trail increased its lead to 4-1 in the second period, Santerno with his third of the game. The Smoke Eaters outshot Salmon Arm 16-2 in the second period in Trail. Carter Cochrane opened the scoring in the third and cut the Silverbacks deficit to 4-2 with his fourth, 41 seconds into the final frame.

The Smoke Eaters then rattled off six consecutive goals in exactly 15 minutes in the third, including Santerno’s fourth of the game and 14th of the season. Brandon Kegler relieved Trevin Kozlowski after the Smoke Eaters increased their lead to 6-2 at 4:24 of the third.

Two of Trail’s goals in the third came on the power-play, at 6:49 with Landon Fuller off for unsportsmanlike conduct and again at 14:02 as Jared Turcotte was penalized for tripping. Carson Bolduc finished the scoring with his sixth, as he fired the puck up and over former Silverback Zach Dyment at 18:05.

Each team registered 13 shots in the third period, Trail outshot Salmon Arm 46-26 total. The Silverbacks finished 0-for-2 on the power-play, and 2-for-4 on the penalty-kill.

Former Silverback Josh Laframboise was credited with three assists on Tuesday, the 20-year-old has 12 goals and 24 points in 22 games this season with the Smoke Eaters. Former Silverback Connor Brown-Maloski has 18 points in 20 games in his 20-year-old season. And, former Silverbacks goaltender Zach Dyment stopped 23 of 26 shots on Tuesday.

The Smoke Eaters now lead the season series 3-0, and the Silverbacks will make their fourth and final regular season visit to Trail on Friday, January 6th at 730pm for game one of a home-and-home set as the Smoke Eaters will make their first visit to Salmon Arm on Saturday, January 7th at 7pm.

Josh Latta and Julian Timba each remain out with upper body injuries. Timba has missed 13, and Latta 11 games.

Each Silverbacks game is webcast PPV at hockeytv.com/#/, each road game is broadcast live via voiceoftheshuswap.caCKVS 93.7FM and each home game is avail audio only at mixlr.com/salmon-arm-silverbacks/