The Silverbacks and Chilliwack Chiefs meet for the first time this season this afternoon at 5p.m. in the Fraser Valley as the ‘Backs conclude their three games in as many days road trip. The Silverbacks are now winless in their last four games, after a 7-3 loss last night in Duncan to the Cowichan Valley Capitals, while the Chiefs won 2-1 at home over the Coquitlam Express.
The Capitals opened the scoring just 58 seconds into last night’s game, as Sean Harrison beat ‘Backs starter Zach Dyment for his eighth of the season from Darien Craighead and Thomas Gobeil at 1:08. The home team lead one-nothing after 20 minutes and out-shot the visitors 14-10. The Silverbacks power-play was 0-for-three in the first period, while the penalty-kill was three-for-three.
Cowichan Valley increased it’s lead to two-nothing in the middle frame with Phillip Middleton off for hooking, Gobeil potted his fifth from Rylan Bechtel and Skylar Pacheco at 3:13. Silverbacks captain Bryden Marsh got on the scoreboard at 12:18, his fifth from Shane Danyluk and Thomas Plese which cut the Capitals lead in half. But less than two minutes later, Luke Santerno restored the Capitals two-goal advantage from Daniel Wanner and Jesse Neher at 14:05 and Cowichan Valley lead 3-1. Another power-play marker put the Capitals ahead 4-1 at 17:56 with Carson Bolduc off for roughing, Gobeil scored his second of the game and period and his sixth of the season from Bechtel and Harrison. Cowichan Valley lead 4-1 after 40 minutes, despite the ‘Backs ahead on the shot-clock in the period 14-11. The Silverbacks were 0-for-one on the power-play in the frame, and two-for-four on the PK.
The ‘Backs began the final frame in penalty trouble, as Bennett Morrison went off for interference at 1:50 and Thomas Plese was penalized four minutes for spearing at 4:47 which gave the Capitals the first three power-plays of the period. And Cowichan Valley increased it’s lead to 5-1 at 5:31 as Kade Kehoe scored his fourth early into Plese’s double minor from Bechtel and Horsman. Plese then brought the Silverbacks back within three with his third of the season and his second in as many games, from Damian Chrcek and Taro Hirose at 7:40. But Capitals captain Kyle Horsman made the score 6-2 at 16:34 with his 13th from Adam Osczevski and Bechtel. With less than three minutes remaining in the third, Morrison fired a shot from the point that found it’s way past Capitals starter Lane Michasiw, Morrison’s second from Blanchard and Mick made it a three-goal game at 17:39. But with Dyment on the bench for the extra attacker, Osczevski scored his fifth as he picked up the puck and fired it into the open net from the neutral zone to give the home team a 7-3 lead at 18:06.
Cowichan Valley out-shot the Silverbacks 16-10 in the third period, and 41-34 overall. The ‘Backs finished 0-for-six with the man-advantage and seven-for-ten on the penalty-kill.
The Silverbacks are now 1-2-0-1 versus the Island Division this season, 3-1-1-1 versus the Mainland Division and 8-8-2-5 overall with 23 points in 24 games.
‘Backs head coach Brandon West with his thought’s going into today’s game.
The Chilliwack Chiefs are 14-8-0-1 with 29 points in 23 games in the Mainland Division. The Chiefs are 9-1-0-0 at home this season, while the ‘Backs are 3-5-1-3 away from the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm. The Silverbacks have scored 76 goals, and have allowed 81. Chilliwack has scored 83 goals in 23 games, while giving up 75. The ‘Backs have the BCHL’s sixth ranked power-play at 23.96-percent with 23 power-play goals, while the Chiefs power-play is 12th at 19.83-percent with 23 power-play goals.
Chilliwack has six returnees from last season’s team which finished 14-37-2-5 and fifth in the Mainland Division with 35 points, 18 points behind Surrey for the final playoff berth.
Craig Puffer leads the Chiefs in scoring and is ranked 18th in the BCHL with 18 goals and nine assists in 23 games along with 18 penalty minutes. Jordan Kawaguchi is second in team scoring with ten goals and 12 assists in 23 games with seven penalty minutes.
The ‘Backs are without a quarter of their 20-player roster this weekend, with Nick Hutchison, Jack Berezan, Nic Josephs, Taylor Maruya and Karl El-Mir all injured. 17-year-old AP forward Steven Jandric of Prince George will play his third game of the weekend today, along with 16-year-old AP forward Cam Coutre of Victoria. Jandric has nine goals and 23 assists along with 24 penalty minutes in 18 games with the Caribou Cougars in the BCMML, while Coutre has eight goals and 13 assists along with 31 penalty minutes in 16 games with the South Island Royals in the BCMML.
The Silverbacks will host the Chiefs at 7p.m. on Wednesday, December 10th at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.
All Silverbacks regular season and playoff games are webcast via http://www.fasthockey.com as well as audio only at http://mixlr.com/sasilverbacks/ Also, all Silverbacks road games are broadcast on CKVS-FM 93.7 http://www.voiceoftheshuswap Tonight’s broadcast from Chilliwack will begin with the Pre-game show at 4:45p.m., the opening Face-off is set for 5p.m.