Salmon Arm isn’t worried about being on the nice list this year. Nearly a month ago the Langley Rivermen came to the Shaw Centre and defeated the Silverbacks in overtime. In their last game of 2018, Salmon Arm wants revenge as they take on Rivermen in the George Preston Arena.
This will be the final game for both teams before the Christmas break. Langley was supposed to play last night at home, but their game against the Prince George Spruce Kings was cancelled due to a power outage in the arena.
Last weekend the Silverbacks picked up three of a possible six points. In Wenatchee they tied the game in the third, but lost 4-3 in overtime. Considering they had been outscored a combined 15-4 the first two meetings, it was a decent way to start a stretch of three games. The team would bus back home arriving in Salmon Arm around 5am before playing that night at home to the Cowichan Valley Capitals. Salmon Arm would tie again tie the game in the third, but the visitors were able to capitalize on a tired team and scored three goals in the final three minutes including an empty netter to take the two points.
Sunday saw the Vernon Vipers come to Salmon Arm looking for their first win against the Backs this season. 4-0 going in, Salmon Arm would emerge 5-0 after a 3-2 victory. Both teams were missing a number of key players with Salmon Arm missing five players and the Vipers seven. Trevor Adams ended a career high 11 game scoring drought with the third goal of the game which stood as the winner.
Langley is on a three game losing streak which is tied with the Vernon Vipers for longest in the BCHL.
In the standings Salmon Arm sits fifth in the Interior Division. With 38 points through 35 games, the Silverbacks are six points back of Merritt for fourth place with one game in hand over the Cents. The team has four games in hand over Trail and is two points ahead after the Smoke Eaters beat the Wenatchee on Wednesday. Langley is fourth in the Mainland Division in an in-between position. They’re a ways back of Coquitlam who is eight points ahead but also have a solid lead over the last place Surrey Eagles who are 14 points back.
Players to Watch:
Silverbacks: With the Silverbacks closing out 2018 in Langley, one player with fresh legs should be Akito Hirose. He served his sixth and final game of suspension on Sunday. His hit in the second half of the game against Merritt prevented him from continuing his three game scoring streak he had entering the game. The hottest player on the Silverbacks roster is Hirose’s billet brother Justin Wilson who has five points in the last three games. He has scored in all three games, and despite only playing 18 games is second on the team in goal scoring with 12 goals, one behind Matthew Verboon who is away with Team Switzerland for the World Juniors.
Rivermen: A player to watch last time around, Ethan Leyh certainly didn’t disappoint. He opened the scoring in the Shaw Centre and scored in overtime to win the game. On the power play he scored in the first period, and on an odd man rush in OT snapped a shot to give his team the extra point. In 53 games last season Leyh had 31 points, and he is already at 30 points in just 29 games this season. Leyh returns from the World Junior A Challenge where he scored the game winning goal in the World Junior A Challenge.
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