The Silverbacks host the Vernon Vipers tonight at 7p.m. at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm in the fourth meeting of the season between the two Interior Division rivals. The Vipers have won their last two games, 4-0 versus the Rivermen in Langley this past Saturday and a 7-3 victory at home over the Merritt Centennials on Wednesday. The ‘Backs are winless in five now after earning only one point on their three-game road trip last weekend. The Silverbacks dropped a 4-3 double OT decision in Powell River on Friday, lost 7-3 in Cowichan Valley on Saturday and fell 3-2 in Chilliwack on Sunday.
The two teams last met in Vernon on Saturday, November 8th and tied 3-3. Each team has a victory in the season series after the ‘Backs won 2-1 at home over the Vipers on Friday, November 7th at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm and the Vipers opened with a 3-2 victory at home over the Silverbacks on Friday, October 10th.
Each team has seven goals in the season series and each has scored 78 goals overall as the ‘Backs have played 25 games while the Vipers 24. Vernon has allowed 61 goals to this point, compared to the Silverbacks 84 goals against.
The ‘Backs are 8-10-2-5 for 23 points in 25 games and are tied with the Trail Smoke Eaters for fifth in the Interior Division but the Smoke Eaters have two games in hand. The Silverbacks are six points behind the Merritt Centennials who are in fourth but the ‘Backs have a game in hand.
The Vipers are 14-7-1-2 with 31 points in 24 games and are tied for second in the division with the West Kelowna Warriors, two points ahead of the Merritt Centennials and 14 points behind the Penticton Vees. Vernon has one game in hand on West Kelowna.
The Silverbacks have 11 forwards and six defenseman, along with the two goaltenders for tonight’s game. 18-year-old defenseman Bennett Morrison was moved to the Chilliwack Chiefs on Wednesday in exchange for future considerations. Morrison of Bolton, Ontario has two goals, three assists and 12 penalty minutes in 23 games this season. Forwards Nick Hutchison, Nic Josephs, Jack Berezan and Taylor Maruya are all injured scratches.
‘Backs head coach Brandon West’s thoughts ahead of tonight’s game.
Andrew Farny leads the Silverbacks in scoring with seven goals and 18 assists for 25 points in 25 games, while Taro Hirose is next with nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points in 25 games.
Anthony Latina, Liam Coughlin and Liam Finlay all lead the Vipers in scoring with 21 points each. Latina has 10 goals and 11 assists in 24 games, while Coughlin has nine goals and 12 assists in 23 games and Finlay has 9 goals and 12 assists in 21 games.
The Silverbacks are 4-4-02 on Friday’s this season and 2-4-2-2 in the month of November.
The ‘Backs will conclude their weekend schedule tomorrow night in Merritt at 7:30p.m. at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
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 Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm will begin with the Pre-game show at 6:45p.m., the opening Face-off is set for 7p.m.