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Silverbacks & Vipers Preview: ‘Pod’ Game 1

Salmon Arm, B.C. — The Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Vernon Vipers will face off in game one of the ‘Pod’ Season on Friday night at Kal Tire Place. It’s been 20 weeks since the last Silverbacks game (140 days!!!), which was a 5-2 defeat to the Penticton Vees in the Okanagan Cup semifinal.

All games involving the Backs, Vipers and West Kelowna Warriors will take place at Kal Tire Place in Vernon.

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

EXHIBITION SEASON HEAD-TO-HEAD

Date Score Record Goalie
Oct. 16 5-2 L 0-1-0 Kohonick 33/38
Oct. 17 4-3 OTL 0-1-1 Vanderkooi 37/41
Oct. 30 4-1 L 0-2-1 Kohonick 30/34
Oct. 31 2-1 SOW 1-2-1 Kohonick 30/31

NOTABLE:

ROSTER INTACT: There are a grand total of two skaters on the Backs roster who did not suit up for them in the Okanagan Cup: Ottawa’s Julian Recine and Salmon Arm local Aidan Lindblad, plus goaltender Owen Say, who was acquired before the exhibition season ended but never got to suit up due to quarantine.

That means the Silverbacks only lost two players in Zach Dubinsky and Carter Loney, who went to the USHL back in November. Most other teams lost several players.

“I think it’s unbelievable fortitude by all those guys that they want to stick something through,” Silverbacks head coach Tyler Shattock said. “For the most part, all of the guys wanted to stay and be together. Team sports is a beautiful thing and you kind of got to see that, that nobody wanted to leave each other and if we did get to play, they all wanted to play together.”

GOTTA WORK HARD FOR O-ZONE SPACE: It’s no secret that the Vipers are a strong defensive club.

What that means is it won’t be easy getting to the middle of the ice in the offensive zone, or getting to any scoring area, for that matter. Simply put, the Backs are going to have to really work for their scoring chances.

“Those guys aren’t going to make it easy on us to get to the net and create things in the o-zone. We’ve got to get inside ice in the offensive zone,” Shattock said. “I [also] think we need to play fast, whether that’s getting pucks in so we can retrieve them or weighing the risk/reward factor of entering different blue lines. I think the more simple we are here to start because we haven’t played in so long, the better off we’ll be.”

Players to Watch

SILVERBACKS: DREW BENNETT

Not only did Bennett lead the Backs in goals in the exhibition season with six in 13 games, but he’s also got a habit of scoring against the Vipers, with three goals in four contests against them last season.

After finishing last season with nine points in the final 13 games and then adding four points in four playoff games, Bennett used the summer to bulk up and his play in the exhibition season was evident he had taken his game to the next level. Don’t forget he plays in all situations too.

VIPERS: SETH BAFARO

Bafaro is the only new face on the Vipers blueline and didn’t play for them in the exhibition season. He’s a Western Hockey League veteran with over 200 games under his belt. Last season, the 20-year-old Kamloops native had 22 points in 62 games. He makes what is already a strong D-core for Vernon even better.

Tune In

As always, all games will be streamed live on BCHL TV, which is a branch of Hockey TV. If you already have a Hockey TV subscription, you already have one for BCHL TV as well.