The Silverbacks are back in action tonight on home ice, hosting the Merritt Centennials at 7p.m. at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.
The Silverbacks are undefeated at the Shaw Centre with 3 victories and 2 ties early in this 2015-16 season. The ‘Backs earned 3 of 4 points to begin their 5 game home stand last weekend, a 4-4 tie with the Wenatchee Wild Friday night, October 2nd and a 5-2 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters Saturday night, October 3rd.
Tonight will be the second of 7 regular season meetings with the Centennials, and the Silverbacks opened the season series with a 7-5 win Tuesday, September 15th in the Nicola Valley. The ‘Backs played catchup in the first period after the Cents opened the scoring and lead 5-3 after 20 minutes. The Silverbacks scored a pair of power-play goals and the other short-handed in the first frame. The ‘Backs then potted the final 4 goals of the game, a pair in both the second and third periods. The Silverbacks 1-for-6 with the man-advantage and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill including the short-handed goal. Carson Bolduc and Ross Heidt each scored twice as the Silverbacks finished ahead on the shot clock as well, 48-28.
The ‘Backs penalty-kill is ranked second in the BCHL at 88.89% with 4 short-handed goals and 6 power-play markers against. Merritt’s PK is 17th, at the bottom of the league at 64.44%. The Cents have allowed 16 power-play goals against and have scored 4 short-handed. The Silverbacks power-play is ranked ninth in the league at 18.37% and 9 goals, while the Cents have 11 power-play goals and sit fifth at 21.57%.
The Centennials come into the Shuswap on a 2 game losing skid, after falling 5-4 this past Sunday, October 4th to the Eagles in Surrey and Friday losing 6-1 to the Vees in Penticton.
As well tonight, the Penticton Vees (7-1) host the Trail Smoke Eaters (2-5) at 7p.m. in the only game around league. The Vees have rattled off 7 consecutive wins after opening the season by losing 4-2 to the Silverbacks Friday, September 11th at the Shaw Centre.
The Silverbacks have 12 points in 8 games and are second in the Interior Division standings, 2 back of the Vees. The West Kelowna Warriors (5-3-0-1) sit third, 1 point behind the ‘Backs after the Warriors lost 3-2 last night in 4-on-4 OT at home to the Coquitlam Express (5-4-1-0). The Centennials are fifth in the division, 1 point back of the Vernon Vipers (4-5-0-1) and the Vipers are just 1 behind the Warriors.
Nick Hutchison has scored 3 goals and 1 assist and has points in the past 3 games. The 20-year-old has 6 goals, 5 assists for 8 games in his second season with the Silverbacks. He leads the team in scoring with 11 points and is 17th overall in BCHL scoring. Ross Heidt leads the ‘Backs with 7 goals, along with 3 assists for 10 points in 8 games and 20th in BCHL scoring. Josh Blanchard has 10 points as well, 4 goals and 6 helpers. Blanchard along with Josh Laframboise each scored 3 points last Saturday. Taro Hirose scored his first of the season last weekend and has 8 assists for 9 points.
Angus Redmond has played in all 8 games for the Silverbacks, the 20-year-old in his fourth and final season with the ‘Backs has a record of 4-1-2-0, .922 goals-against-average and 2.10 saves-percentage. 18-year-old Brandon Kegler of Leduc, Alberta is awaiting his BCHL debut after being acquired last week from the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL and Leduc Oil Kings Midget AAA program.
The Cents have scored 40 goals, while allowing 46 in their first 10 games. Zak Bowles and Colin Grannary lead Merritt in scoring and are seventh and eighth in the BCHL respectively, with 15 points in 10 games. Bowles, who is in his second season with the Centennials and third in the BCHL has 7 goals and 8 assists in 10 games. Grannary is in his second BCHL season and with Merritt, he has scored 6 goals and 9 helpers.
The Silverbacks have outscored their opponents 23-12 in the first 5 home games, and 44-26 total the ‘Backs have outscored the opposition in the 8 regular season games.
Tonight is game 3 of this 5 game home stand, the longest of the season in Salmon Arm. The Silverbacks have their second Friday night off from game action later this week, as the ‘Backs prepare for back-to-back games this weekend at the Shaw Centre versus the Nanaimo Clippers (6-3) Saturday night, October 10th at 7p.m. and the Prince George Spruce Kings (1-6-0-1) will visit Sunday afternoon, October 11th at 3p.m.
The Silverbacks and Cents meet again at the end of this month Sunday, October 2nd at 2p.m. at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
Each Silverbacks and BCHL game is webcast live, PPV http://bchl.fasthockey.com and each ‘Backs road game is live at CKVS 93.7 FM http://voiceoftheshuswap.ca
Tune into CKVS each Monday night throughout the season beginning at 7p.m. for 30 minutes or more of Silverbacks talk, including interviews and news from around the BCHL.