The Silverbacks travel to Merritt today to meet the Centennials for the fifth time this season at 7:30 p.m. at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. The ‘Backs and BCHL leading Penticton Vees tied at 2 last night at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm in the fourth meeting of the season. The visitors took the first penalty of the game, as Connor Russell went off for tripping at 15:06 but the Silverbacks weren’t able to capitalize. The Vees then opened the scoring with 1:31 remaining in the opening period, as Lewis Zerter-Gossage skated into ‘Backs territory along the right-wing and stick handled the puck around a pair of Silverbacks before sliding it past Angus Redmond. Patrick Newell and Mike Lee assisted on Zerter-Gossage’s 12th of the season and the Vees lead 1-0 after 20 minutes but the home team lead 13-11 on the shot-clock.
Dakota Conroy then gave the Vees a 2-0 lead early in the second frame with Taro Hirose off for tripping, the newest Vee Shayne Gwinner along with Patrick Newell assisted on Conroy’s fifth of the season, a power-play marker at 2:13. Conroy was penalized for tripping at 10:30, and the Silverbacks capitalized just 6 seconds into their second power-play as Shane Danyluk won the face-off back to Phillip Middleton at the point who fired a shot that beat Hunter Miska. Bryden Marsh earned the other assist on Middleton’s third goal of the season at 10:36. Marsh then took back-to-back penalties to end the period, for hooking and slashing which the Silverbacks killed off and the Vees lead 2-1 after 40 minutes. The Vees out-shot the ‘Backs 8-7 in the second period.
The only goal of the third period came unassisted and from the newest Silverback, Branden Wagner picked up the puck in the right-wing circle in Vees territory and fired it past Miska tying the game at 2. Wagner scored his first goal as a Silverback and fourth of the season, unassisted at 6:25. The game remained tied at 2 after 60 minutes as the Vees out-shot the ‘Backs 10-9 in the third period, and the shots were even at 29-29. 5 minutes of 4-on-4 overtime solved nothing with the Vees out-shooting the ‘Backs 2-1, and after 5 minutes of 3-on-3 overtime where the Silverbacks out-shot the Vees 6-1 the game ended in a 3-3 tie.
The Silverbacks out-shot the Vees 36-32 overall with Angus Redmond making 30 saves, and many big stops as he and the Vees Hunter Miska battled at each end. The ‘Backs finished 1-for-2 on power-play, and 2-for-3 on the penalty-kill. The Vees lead the season series with 3 wins, 1 in overtime and the tie.
The Centennials also played in double overtime last night, winning 3-2 over the Spruce Kings in Prince George. The Cents tied the game at 1 in the first period, and took a 2-1 lead in the third and have now won back-to-back games.
The Silverbacks are 10-13-3-5 with 28 points in 31 games and fifth in the Interior Division, 2 points ahead of the Trail Smoke Eaters who have two games in hand. The Centennials are 17-12-0-2 with 36 points in 31 games and fourth in the Interior, 1 point behind the West Kelowna Warriors.
The Silverbacks and Centennials are tied at 2 in their season series, with the ‘Backs winning both games in Merritt by scores of 6-1 on Saturday, October 11th and 5-2 on Saturday, November 29th.
The Cents are 8-4-0-0 at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena this season, while the ‘Backs are 6-5-1-3 on the road.
The Silverbacks are 5-for-13 on the power-play versus the Centennials this season, and 9-for-13 on the penalty-kill.
Silverbacks Head Coach Brandon West with his thought’s ahead of tonight’s game in Merritt and after last night’s game versus the Vees.
The ‘Backs final games before the holiday break will be a home-and-home set with the Trail Smoke Eaters beginning Friday, December 19th at 7p.m. at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm, before travelling to the Cominco Arena in Trail on Saturday, December 20th for a 7:30p.m. start.
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 Merritt will begin with the Pre-game show at 7:15p.m., the opening Face-off is set for 7:30p.m.