The Silverbacks host the West Kelowna Warriors in the fifth meeting of the season tonight at 7 p.m. at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm. The ‘Backs will be playing their first game of 2015 and come into the new year riding a three-game win streak, and have points in their last four games after finishing 2014 with 4-3 and 4-1 wins over the Trail Smoke Eaters on December 19th and 20th for a record of 4-2-0-1 in December. The Warriors have had two games since their holiday break, as they lost 7-3 in Trail on Sunday, December 28th before knocking off the Smoke Eaters 5-3 in West Kelowna on Tuesday on the 30th. The Warriors are 5-and-5 in their last 10 games.
Both the Silverbacks and Warriors adjusted their rosters yesterday, as the ‘Backs traded 2nd season defenseman Cole McCaskill to the Prince George Spruce Kings in exchange for future considerations. The 18-year-old from Kamloops had 4 assists and 6 penalty minutes in just 18 games this season after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. While the Warriors also dealt with the Spruce Kings, West Kelowna acquired defenseman Tyler Kunz in exchange for defensemen Michael Buonicontri and Greydon Robinson.
The Silverbacks are 13-13-3-5 with 34 points in 34 games and are in fifth place in the Interior Division, 6 points behind the fourth place Merritt Centennials and the ‘Backs have a game in hand. The Warriors are 19-13-0-5 with 43 points in 37 games and are in third place, 9 points ahead of the Silverbacks who have 3 games in hand on West Kelowna. The Warriors have scored 134 goals so far this season and have given up 134, while the ‘Backs have scored 111 and have allowed 114.
The Warriors lead the season series 3-games-to-1 and have won both games at the Shaw Centre, 4-3 in double-overtime on Friday, October 31st and 7-1 on Saturday, December 6th. The ‘Backs lone victory thus far came on Friday, December 5th in the Okanagan as Angus Redmond made 34 saves and Josh Laframboise on power-play, Chase Priskie, as well as Karl El-Mir all scored in each period for a 3-0 shut-out.
The Silverbacks are 5-7-2-2 at the Shaw Centre this season, while the Warriors are 11-6-0-4 on the road. The ‘Backs power-play is ranked 3rd in the BCHL at 24.60-percent with 31 power-play goals, while the Warriors are ticking at 12th and 19.89 with 35 goals on the man-advantage. The Warriors penalty-kill is sitting 6th at 79.17-percent with 4 short-handed goals, while the ‘Backs PK is running 10th in the BCHL at 77.86 with 5 short-handed markers.
Silverbacks Head Coach Brandon West with his thought’s ahead of tonight’s game.
Liam Blackburn leads the Warriors in scoring and is 2nd overall in the BCHL with 14 goals and 38 assists 37 games, while Jason Cotton is 13th with 19 goals and 22 assists in 37 games. Taro Hirose leads the Silverbacks with 11 goals and 23 assists in 34 games, and Andrew Farny is just 1 behind with 8 goals and 25 assists in 34 games. Farny is second in scoring among BCHL defenseman and 34th overall.
The ‘Backs conclude the weekend tomorrow night at the Shaw Centre as they will meet the league leading Penticton Vees at 7 p.m. for the fifth time this season.
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 the Sahw Centre in Salmon Arm will begin with the Pre-game show at 6:45p.m., the opening Face-off is set for 7p.m.