The Silverbacks (24-13-4-3) are back on the road tonight (Friday) and will take on the Vernon Vipers (20-23-0-3) at 7p.m., before the ‘Backs host the Vipers tomorrow (Saturday) at 7p.m. at the Shaw Centre.
Saturday will mark the third edition of ‘Hockey Day in Salmon Arm’, with minor hockey games all day at the Shaw Centre, and the Silverbacks will honour the Shuswap Totems with replica jersey’s which the ‘Backs will wear at home to the Vipers on Saturday night. The Totems were the first Junior ‘A’ hockey team in Salmon Arm, beginning in 1982 till 1985 in the B.C. Hockey League. The replica Totems jersey’s can be purchased via a live and online auction at http://www.sasilverbacks.com/jersey-auction
The Silverbacks are looking to end a six game winless skid which began back on Friday, January 15th with a 10-5 loss at home to Vernon. The ‘Backs got out to a 5-1 lead in the first period before allowing the final nine goals of the game.
The ‘Backs earned just one out of a possible six points this past weekend on Vancouver Island. A trip which saw the team play three-games in as many days, beginning with a 6-4 loss to the Cowichan Valley Capitals (22-17-3-3) last Friday, before falling 4-1 to the Victoria Grizzlies (20-20-0-4) on Saturday and, the Silverbacks salvaged a 2-2 tie on Sunday with the Nanaimo Clippers (32-15-1-1) after falling behind 2-0 in the first period. The ‘Backs have yet to win in overtime this season, with a record of 0-4-3. The Silverbacks are now 5-3-1-0 versus the Island Division, with two regular season meetings remaining. The Silverbacks will visit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (16-24-3-3) on Saturday night, February 13th at 7p.m. and will be at the Powell River Kings (26-18-0-2) on Sunday afternoon, February 14th at 3p.m. The ‘Backs begin their final weekend road trip of the regular season on Friday night, February 12th in the Lower Mainland versus the Coquitlam Express (20-20-1-4) at 7:30.
The ‘Backs are 12-8-1-1 away from the Shaw Centre, 3-4-2-1 in January and now third in the Interior Division. The West Kelowna Warriors (27-16-1-2) moved into second place alone with an 8-1 win at home over the Trail Smoke Eaters (19-26-0-2) on Tuesday night. The Silverbacks have two games in hand on the Warriors with just one regular season meeting remaining, set for Friday, February 26th in West Kelowna. The Vipers occupy the fourth and the final playoff spot in the Interior, three points ahead of the Smoke Eaters.
The Vipers are 4-3-0-0 in January, coming off of a 3-2 double overtime win last Saturday in Trail. Vernon is 11-12-0-2 at home and 11-15-0-2 versus the Interior.
The Silverbacks still lead the season series with Vipers after taking the first four meetings; a 5-2 victory in Vernon on December 9th, a 4-3 win in Vernon on November 28th, a 5-1 win in Salmon Arm on November 27th, beginning with a 6-2 win in Vernon on October 28th.
Taro Hirose leads the ‘Backs with 12 goals and 45 assists in 44 games, while Odeen Tufto leads the Vipers with 21 goals and 33 assists in 45 games.
The Vipers have 664 penalty minutes, one minute more than the Silverbacks at 663. The ‘Backs power-play is near 22-percent, with 49 power-play goals and five short-handed goals against. The Vipers man-advantage is also ticking at 22-percent, with 50 power-play goals and five short-handed goals against. The ‘Backs penalty-kill is near 82-percent, with 11 short-handed markers and 41 power-play goals against. Vernon’s PK is at 77-percent, with three short-handed goals and 49 power-plays goals against.
The Silverbacks will begin the final month of the regular season on the road on Tuesday, February 2nd in Trail at 7:30p.m. The ‘Backs and Smokies will meet four times in 22 days, and nine of the Silverbacks 12 games in February will be with the Interior division.