Backs host Prince George at 7 PM tonight
The Silverbacks (17-24-2-3) host the Prince George Spruce Kings (20-20-2-3) tonight at 7pm at the Shaw Centre, less than 24 hours after Salmon Arm fell 4-3 in overtime at home to the Nanaimo Clippers (18-23-1-5) on Friday night.
The home team played from behind for the second straight game. Josh Blanchard made his return to the Shuswap, after the 20-year-old forward was dealt to the Island on deadline day earlier this month. Blanchard assisted on the game’s first goal at 4:20 of the first, his first point as a Clipper. Justin Wilson tied the game 1-1 with his 12th at 6:24, Wilson has goals in back-to-back games on home ice.
Nanaimo lead 15-13 on the shot clock in the opening 20 minutes. Blanchard restored the visitors lead with his first goal as a Clipper and ninth of season, 2-1 at 4:53 of the second. And Nanaimo went ahead 3-1 at 11:57 of the second period and took that two goal lead into the third.
The Silverbacks edged the Clippers 13-12 in shots in the second. Elijiah Barriga got the home team within one with his 23rd, a power-play goal at 13:28. And, Jared Turcotte potted the 3-3 tying goal with 1:07 remaining in regulation and 6-on-5 with Trevin Kozlowski at the bench.
The 19-year-old’s 10th of the season sent the game into 4-on-4 overtime. But with 47 seconds remaining in the third, Silverbacks captain Carson Bolduc was penalized for elbowing in Clippers territory. Nanaimo began the extra period with a 4-on-3 man advantage and ended the game just 49 seconds into OT.
Salmon Arm lead 14-9 on the shot clock in the third, and Nanaimo had the only two shots in OT. The Silverbacks finished ahead 40-38 on the shot clock total, and Kozlowski suffered his 16th loss of the season. Salmon Arm’s power-play was 1-for-5, while the penalty-kill was 3-for-5. The Silverbacks are now 4-3-2 in OT, while the Clippers improved to 4-5-1. Despite the loss on Friday, Salmon Arm has won the regular season series with Nanaimo. The Silverbacks scored a 4-3 double OT victory on the Island in October, and doubled the Clippers 4-2 in September at the Bauer BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.
The Silverbacks lost 6-3 in Prince George in the final week of November. The Spruce Kings began this weekend with a 3-1 victory on the road over the Merritt Centennials (18-19-2-8) on Friday night. Former Silverback and now Spruce King, Sam De Melo will return to the Shaw Centre. Salmon Arm has a record of 2-4-1-1 in January, while PG is 2-6-0-1 in 2017. The Silverbacks are 3-6-0-1 versus Mainland Division opponents, the Spruce Kings are 5-5-1-0 in the Interior.
Prince George is 7-10-0-1 on the road, Salmon Arm is 6-13-1-2 on home ice. The Silverbacks have been outscored 189-145 in 46 games, while the Spruce Kings have outscored their opponents 168-163 in 45 regular season games. Salmon Arm has the fifth highest total of penalty-minutes with 660, Prince George has the fourth lowest total at 539. Salmon Arm’s power-play is ranked 11th in the league at 19-percent, including the highest amount of short-handed goals-against with 12. Prince George is 12th with the man-advantage, also at 19-percent. The Silverbacks penalty-kill is at the bottom of the BCHL at 72-percent, the Spruce Kings sit seventh at 81-percent.
Ryley Booth missed his third consecutive game on Friday due to injury, and Connor Sundquist remains out with injury. Affiliate forwards Trey Thomas and Jacob Kennedy got back into the Silverbacks lineup on Friday. Kennedy scored his first BCHL goal earlier this month in Salmon Arm, the 17-year-old is a product of Delta, BC and with the Delta Hockey Academy Prep program. Thomas is also 17-years-old and of Williams Lake, BC. He is currently in the BC Major Midget League with the Caribou Cougars out of Prince George.