The Silverbacks (22-28-3-3) scored the lone goal yesterday in a 1-0 shutout victory at home over the Merritt Centennials (21-25-2-8) at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm. Sunday’s win coming less than 24 hours after the Silverbacks beat the Penticton Vees (39-13-1-2) 5-1 on Saturday in the South Okanagan. The Silverbacks began this past weekend by securing a playoff spot with a 4-0 shutout victory at home over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (16-31-2-7) on Friday night in Salmon Arm.
Elijiah Barriga scored his team leading 26th of the season at 12:37 of the second period on Sunday, assisted by affiliate defenseman Ante Mustapic. Merritt lead 12-10 on the shot clock in the first, the Silverbacks outshot the Cents 14-5 in the second, 12-11 Merritt in the third, and Salmon Arm outshot the Centennials 35-29 total. Trevin Kozlowski stopped 29 shots for his second shutout of the weekend and of the season, Kozlowski allowed just 1 goal in back-to-back-to-back games. The Silverbacks power-play was 0-for-3 on Sunday, but the penalty-kill finished 3-for-3.
Salmon Arm also won the season series with Merritt, 4 games to 3 including an overtime victory. The Centennials though outscored the Silverbacks 23-19 in the seven regular meetings.
Akito Hirose and Marcus Mitchell watched on Sunday after each suffered serious injury on Saturday in the South Okanagan. The Silverbacks dressed 11 forwards and six defenseman, including the AP Mustapic and affiliate forward Daniel Fisher of the Revelstoke Grizzlies in the KIJHL. Barriga also suffered injury on Saturday but he was treated and back into the lineup on Sunday. Riley Hayles and Julian Timba are already out of the lineup with season ending injuries.
Salmon Arm will visit the Cowichan Valley Capitals (23-27-2-3) Wednesday night at 6pm on Vancouver Island. The Silverbacks will finish their regular season schedule on home ice on Saturday, February 25th versus the West Kelowna Warriors (26-26-0-2) at 7pm at the Shaw Centre.
The Silverbacks have won 3 straight for the second time this season, with 3 consecutive victories early in December as well. Salmon Arm is now 9-14-2-2 on home ice, 4-4-1-0 in February, and 15-15-3-1 in the Interior. The Silverbacks still sit sixth in the Interior but now 2 points behind the Centennials who are in fifth, each team has two regular season games remaining. The top two teams in the Interior will receive a first round playoff bye, third place will meet sixth and fourth versus fifth in Best-of-7 series which will begin early in March.