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Preview: Silverbacks Look for Fifth Straight Win in Penticton

Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks (27-20-4) go for their fifth straight win on Friday night when they take on the division-leading Penticton Vees (39-11-2) at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

This is the six and final head-to-head meeting this season. The season series is currently 3-2 for the Vees, who have defeated the Silverbacks in three straight: 2-1 on Jan. 18, 5-2 on Jan. 3 and 6-3 on Nov. 15. The Silverbacks won the first two meetings: 4-3 on Nov. 13 and 5-2 on Oct. 16.

The Backs enter action one point ahead of the Vernon Vipers for third place in the Interior Division and four points ahead of Wenatchee, who currently sit in fifth. All three clubs have seven games remaining on their regular season schedules.

Tonight’s game has a 7 p.m. puck drop.

Last Time Out

The Backs are coming off a 3-0 shutout victory over the Langley Rivermen on Tuesday night.

Will Poirier led the way with two goals — one of which came on the power play — while Daniel Rybarik scored his 28th goal of the season. Ethan Langenegger picked up his third shutout of the year with 24 saves. It was the 40th career win for the Kamloops native.

The power play remained hot on Tuesday, delivering two more goals.

A Closer Look

The Silverbacks’ power play is now an incredible 9-for-28 in the last six games (32%). Salmon Arm has scored two power play goals in each of their last four contests.

Poirier now has a three-game goal streak (four goals) and eight goals in his last nine games. Nick Unruh’s assist on Poirier’s insurance marker on Tuesday gives him a four-game point streak and 13 points in his last nine (three goals, 10 assists). Rybarik has 10 goals and five assists since the Christmas Break (15 games).

The Backs enter riding a four-game win streak, out-scoring their opponents 17-7 in the four games. They went 0-2-2 in their previous four.

On the road this season, Salmon Arm is 10-11-4, but they are 4-2-2 in their last eight away from home. Friday’s game will be the Silverbacks eighth road game in their last nine overall.

Leading Scorers

Akito Hirose (9-41-50)
Noah Wakeford (17-30-47)
Daniel Rybarik (28-16-44)
William Poirier (19-17-36)
Nick Unruh (11-25-36)

The Opposition

The Vees went 10-1 in the month of January and enter action on an eight-game win streak. Their last victory was a 4-3 score over the Surrey Eagles on Wednesday night.

Penticton has out-scored their opponents 40-12 during their current winning streak. They have allowed two or less goals in seven of those eight.

Since returning from injury in mid-January, Vees forward Jay O’Brien has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in seven games. Defenecman Conner Hutchison enters riding a six-game point streak, with one goal and eight assists in those six games.

Penticton has already concluded their entire road schedule this season, with their remaining six games all on home ice. They are 9-0-1 in their last 10 at home.

Leading Scorers

Jay O’Brien (22-36-58)
David Silye (19-37-56)
Lukas Sillinger (18-35-53)
Danny Weight (23-29-52)
Jackson Niedermayer (18-20-38)

Notable Versus Penticton

The last time the Silverbacks visited Penticton, they suffered a narrow defeat, falling 2-1. Nick Unruh had the lone goal for the Backs, whileTristan Amonte had the game-winning-goal for the Vees early in the second period.

Lukas Sillinger leads all skaters in head-to-head scoring this season, with eight points (2G, 6A) in the five meetings so far, while Rybarik has the most goals of any skater with four. Vees captain David Silye is second in points with seven (3G, 4A), while Silverback captain Akito Hirose is third (6A).

Upcoming Milestones

Noah Wakeford: 2 assists from 75 career BCHL assists.

Nick Unruh: 4 goals from 50 career BCHL goals.

Tune In

Pre-game coverage on EZ Rock starts at 6:30 p.m. with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will also be streamed live on HockeyTV.