The Silverbacks (11-16-0-1) visit the Prince George Spruce Kings (13-10-2-1) tonight (Saturday) at 7pm, for game one of the home-and-home regular season series.

Salmon Arm began the weekend with a 4-3 victory over the Merritt Centennials (10-12-1-5) last night in the Nicola Valley.

Josh Blanchard opened the scoring on Friday, with his fourth of the season at 11:53 of the opening period. The Silverbacks lead 1-0 into the middle frame, out shooting the Centennials 18-16.

Merritt tied the game 1-1 on the power-play just 1:13 into the second, with Carson Bolduc penalized for tripping. Bolduc gave the Silverbacks the lead back with his 10th, 2-1 at 9:02.

The Centennials tied the game 2-2 at 10:18, and Merritt took its first and only lead of the night at 15:13 of the second period with Riley Hayles off for interference. Elijiah Barriga finished the scoring in the middle period, 3-3 with Barriga’s 12th at 16:48.

Each team had 13 shots in the second, 31-29 Silverbacks overall.

The final goal of the game came from the Jared Turcotte, the game winner and his 7th at 16:11 of the third period and on the power-play as well. Salmon Arm lead 9-6 on the shot clock in the final frame, and 40-35 Silverbacks total. Trevin Kozlowski stopped 32 shots for his sixth win of the season.

The power-play was 1-for-2 on Friday, while the penalty-kill was 2-for-4. The Silverbacks now lead the season series with the Cents with three wins in the first five games. The next meeting is set for January 21st, 2017 and back in the Nicola Valley at 7pm.

Salmon Arm is now 3-5-0-1 in November. PG improved to 5-2-0-1 in November, winning 8-0 at home over the Coquitlam Express (6-20-2-0) on Friday. The Silverbacks are 8-7-0-0 on the road, while the Spruce Kings are 11-5-2-0 on home ice. Prince George has won four consecutive games and three straight at home.

Barriga leads the Silverbacks with 12 goals and 30 points in 28 games. 20-year-old Brett Mennear leads the Spruce Kings with 14 goals and 36 points in 26 games.

18-year-old defenseman Carter Stephenson is making his Silverbacks debut this weekend. The Silverbacks acquired the 18-year-old earlier in the week in exchange for 19-year-old defenseman Cameron Trott and future considerations.

Hayden Hopkins will be out of the lineup again tonight, serving game three of a four game suspension after receiving a major penalty for a blow to the head last Saturday at home to Cowichan Valley.

Grayson Constsble, Akito Hirose, Brandon Kegler and Julian Timba are not on the trip as each recovers from injury.

Affiliate forward Colton Thomas and goaltender Tanner Marshall are with the Silverbacks this weekend.

Friday’s victory was also Misko Antisin’s first career win as a head coach in the BCHL.

Prince George will visit Salmon Arm on Saturday, January 28th at 7pm.

The Silverbacks next home action will be Friday, December 3rd at home to the Trail Smoke Eaters (13-12-0-1) 7pm.