Friday night Salmon Arm will have Matthew Verboon in the lineup for the first time since December 8th. Following that game he was able to represent his country playing for Switzerland at the World Juniors. Verboon had one assist in the tournament coming in the quarter-finals against Sweden. Beating Sweden who hadn’t lost in the preliminary round, Switzerland advanced to the semi-finals where they finished in fourth which was their best result since 2010 when they also came fourth. Missing a month, Verboon still leads the Silverbacks in points with 29 this season.
Going to Vernon tonight, Salmon Arm looks to pull off the season sweep against the Vernon Vipers. Every game this season has been extremely close with just one of the five games being decided by more than one goal. Salmon Arm has NEVER swept a season series with the Vernon Vipers before.
The most recent encounter with these sides was in the Shaw Centre where Salmon Arm won 3-2 in the final home game of 2018. Trevor Adams scored the game winner in that meeting with 6:30 left in the third period breaking a 2-2 tie.
2019 has been good to both teams so far. Salmon Arm started off beating Penticton 3-1 in the SOEC and then returned home to beat the Surrey Eagles 6-2. Sunday afternoon the tired group fell 5-3 against the Penticton Vees who had Saturday off. Vernon has played three games, and has points in all of them. Starting at home they beat West Kelowna 4-3, and then lost 3-2 in overtime the next night against Merritt. The team’s last game was Monday where they defeated the Surrey Eagles 4-1 in South Surrey Arena.
Acquired on Wednesday from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Darren Rizzolo will make his Silverback debut against the Vipers who he played one full season for. In two games against the Vipers this season, he has one assist in two games played. FUN FACT: Last time Rizzolo was traded, he also made his debut against the Vipers as a member of the Bulldogs. In 26 games this season, Rizzolo has one goal and 10 assists.
In the Standings:
Salmon Arm currently sits fifth in the Interior Division. They have narrowed the gap on fourth place, and are now just three points behind the West Kelowna Warriors who have lost all three games in 2019 allowing a combined 20 goals in that span. The Silverbacks also have three fewer games played than the Warriors. Right on the heels of Salmon Arm, are the Vernon Vipers. With two more games played, the Vipers are just two points behind Salmon Arm in the standings. The Vipers have been a pesky group this year as they have the fewest wins in the Division, but have lost in overtime 10 times to earn a least a point in those contests.
Players to Watch:
Silverbacks: Missing nearly two months with injury, Justin Wilson has only played one game against the Vipers. He made sure to stand out in that one though scoring twice in the game and was named the first star of the game. In 22 games this season, Wilson has 28 points which is just three points behind his career high of 31 he recorded in 56 games of his rookie season. The power play goal he scored Sunday was the fourth of his season, he had four in the previous two season combined. In five games against Vernon this year, Trevor Adams has been red hot with three goals and three assists. There was just one game he didn’t record a point against the Vipers. Dating back to last year’s playoffs, he has 10 points in nine games.
Vipers: A little under a point per game player early this season, Jack Judson has quieted down since the middle of November. He had 21 points in his first 26 games, but in the past eight has just three. He missed the last two games his team played. For Ben Helgeson it’s all or nothing against the Silverbacks. He has played in all five games this season against Salmon Arm recording four points. In three games he was shutout, and the other two he had a goal and assist per game. Those games are two of the three multi-point games he has had this season.
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