The Silverbacks won their third consecutive game on Friday night as they played the first of three games in as many days, skating to a 4-1 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm in the final regular season meeting. The ‘Backs travel to Merritt today to take on the Centennials at 7:30p.m. tonight.
Neither team found the back of the net in the opening period, but the home team had the best opportunities. Seven minutes into the frame Carson Bolduc picked up the puck and skated through the neutral zone with Chase Priskie, 2-on-1 into Warriors territory and Bolduc passed the puck across to Priskie along the left-wing who fired a shot into Warriors AP netminder Stephen Heslop. Midway through the period, Priskie again had a chance as he took a pass from Thomas Plese in Silverbacks territory and skated up through centre and into the Warriors zone where he backhanded the puck up and onto Heslop. With just over three minutes remaining in the period, Josh Laframboise picked up the puck just inside of the Warriors line and he moved it ahead for Taro Hirose at the top of the slot who then passed the puck to Bolduc at the left side of the net and he sent it across the ice in front of the goal intended for Laframboise at the right side of the net but the pass didn’t connect. The Warriors outshot the ‘Backs 12-9 in the first period.
The Silverbacks opened the scoring 1:42 into the middle frame, as Laframboise poked in his ninth of the season with Bolduc and Philip Middleton assisting. Middleton got the puck toward the net and Bolduc left it at the side of the goal, as the ‘Backs had an extra-attacker on the ice with the Warriors being called for their first penalty of the game.
Ross Heidt potted his 13th to put the Silverbacks ahead 2-0 at 8:25, as Josh Blanchard and Colton Thibault battled behind the Warriors net and the puck came out into the slot where Heidt found it and fired it in. The ‘Backs outshot the Warriors 14-8 in the second frame.
Chase Priskie put the Silverbacks in front 3-0 at 10:32 of the third period, his fifth of the season and unassisted as the Warriors tried to clear their zone and put the puck onto Priskie’s stick at the right point and he fired it on goal.
The Warriors would snap Angus Redmond’s bid for a third consecutive shutout, as Jonathan Desbiens scored his 22nd from Kyle Marino and Kristian Blumenschein on the power-play at 14:01, as Middleton was off for slashing.
Shane Danyluk put the game away for the ‘Backs as he found the empty Warriors net from neutral ice at 18:53 for his 10th from Andrew Farny.
The Silverbacks outshot the Warriors 12-10 in the third period, and 35-30 overall. Angus Redmond made 29 saves for his 18th win of the season and he is now sixth among BCHL goalies at 18-20-2 with five shutouts, a 2.68 goals-against-average and .912 save-percentage. Redmond played 217 minutes and 42 seconds of shutout hockey in four games dating back to Wednesday, January 28th in Penticton.
The ‘Backs finished 0-for-3 on the power-play and 3-for-4 on the penalty-kill.
The ‘Backs lead the season series with the Merritt Centennials with three wins and two losses. Each team has won all of the games in each-other’s arena thus far, while the Silverbacks have outscored the Cents 22-15 in the first five games.
The Centennials began the season with a 5-2 victory in Salmon Arm on Friday, September 26th before the Silverbacks won 6-1 in Merritt on Saturday, October 11th. The Cents won again at the Shaw Centre 4-3 on Saturday, November 15th and the ‘Backs have taken the last two meetings in Merritt, 5-2 on Saturday, November 29th and 6-3 on Saturday, December 13th. The final regular season meeting is at 7p.m. on Friday, February 27th in Salmon Arm.
The Silverbacks are 22-19-3-5 with 52 points in 49 games and are in fifth place in the Interior Division, two points behind West Kelowna in the final playoff spot, with two games in hand on the Warriors and the ‘Backs are four points behind Merritt.
The Centennials have won their last two games and are coming off of a 5-4 overtime win in Trail last night. The Cents are 27-20-0-2 with 56 points in 49 games and are third in the Interior Division, two points ahead of fourth place West Kelowna with two games in hand on the Warriors and four points up on the Silverbacks. The Centennials are nine points back of the second place Vernon Vipers.
The Cents and ‘Backs are both 5-5-0-0 in their last 10 games, while the Silverbacks are 15-10-2-3 versus Interior Division opponents and the Centennials are 16-15-0-1 against their Interior Division rivals. The Cents are 16-8-0-0 on home ice this season, while the ‘Backs are 10-11-1-3 on the road.
John Schiavo leads the Centennials with 24 goals and 28 assists in 49 games and is 18th overall in BCHL scoring, while Gavin Gould is 26th with 20 goals and 20 assists in 49 games and Diego Cuglietta is 29th with 17 goals and 30 assists in 44 games.
Andrew Farny leads the Silverbacks and is the highest scoring defenseman in the BCHL, 30th overall with 14 goals and 33 assists in 49 games. Taro Hirose is ranked 35th with 16 goals and 28 assists in 49 games.
The Centennials power-play is ranked 7th in the BCHL with 49 goals and is 5-for-15 versus the Silverbacks, while the ‘Backs man-advantage is 12th with 36 goals and 5-for-15 against the Cents. Merritt’s penalty-kill is 11th in the BCHL and 10-for-15 in the season series meanwhile, the Silverbacks PK is 8th and 10-for-15 versus the Centennials.
‘Backs Head Coach Brandon West with his thought’s following last night’s win and ahead of tonight’s game.
The Silverbacks will conclude their weekend tomorrow afternoon at 3p.m. as they host the Surrey Eagles 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 Merritt will begin with the Pre-game show at 7:15p.m., the Opening Face-off is set for 7:30p.m.