The Silverbacks visit the Trail Smoke Eaters at 7:30p.m. tonight for the seventh and final meeting of the season. The ‘Backs lead the season series with five victories and one loss, all in regulation. The Silverbacks come into the game 24-19-3-5 with 56 points in 51 games and currently occupy the fourth and final playoff spot in the Interior Division. The ‘Backs are one point ahead of the West Kelowna Warriors who sit in fifth place and the Silverbacks have one game in hand on the Warriors. The ‘Backs are tied in points with the Merritt Centennials who are in third place in the division, but the Cents have one game in hand on the Silverbacks.
The Smoke Eaters are 17-29-0-4 with 38 points in 50 games at the bottom of the Interior Division, and have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Trail is coming off of a 2-1 win at home over the Surrey Eagles on Saturday, February 7th. The Smoke Eaters are 11-11-0-2 on home ice this season, 3-5-0-2 in their last 10 games and 1-1-0-1 this month. The Smokies are 6-20-0-2 versus their Interior Division opponents.
The ‘Backs have won their last five games, including three in as many days this past weekend and 3-2 over the Surrey Eagles at the Shaw Centre on Sunday, February 8th. The Silverbacks are 11-11-1-3 on the road, 6-4-0-0 in their last 10, 3-0-0-0 in February and 16-10-2-3 against their Interior Division rivals.
Jake Lucchini leads the Smoke Eaters with 27 goals and 38 assists in 50 games and is 7th overall in BCHL scoring, while Charlie Zuccarini is 12th with 27 goals and 30 assists in 45 games. The Smoke Eaters are without Zuccarini after he made contact with a referee last month during a game in Coquitlam and was assessed a match penalty for abuse of an official and suspended for the remainder of the season.
Andrew Farny leads the ‘Backs and is the highest scoring defenseman in the BCHL, 32nd overall with 14 goals and 33 assists in 51 games while Taro Hirose is 36th with 17 goals and 29 assists in 51 games.
The Silverbacks have outscored the Smokies 23-16 in the six games. The ‘Backs have 166 goals in 51 games, 14th among the 16 teams while the Smoke Eaters have potted 177 goals in 50 games which is good for eighth. The Silverbacks have only allowed 154 goals and are fourth in the BCHL in goals-against, compared to Trail’s 204 goals against which is 13th.
The Smoke Eater’s power-play is ranked eighth in the league with 43 goals and is 4-for-20 in the season series with the ‘Backs, while the Silverbacks man-advantage is 12th with 38 goals and is 5-for-14 in the six games thus far against the Smokies. Meanwhile, Trail’s penalty-kill is also eighth and 9-for-14 in the series. The ‘Backs PK is 10th and 16-for-20 versus the Smoke Eaters.
The Silverbacks began with a 4-2 win in Trail on Saturday, September 27th before the Smoke Eaters won their only game of the season series thus far 4-1 on Wednesday, October 22nd in Trail. The ‘Backs have since rattled off four consecutive wins over the Smokies after a 7-4 victory at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm on Friday, October 24th. And on Friday, December 19th by a score of 4-3 before 4-1 the next night in Trail on Saturday, December 20th. The Silverbacks got by the Smoke Eaters 3-2 at the Shaw Centre in their last meeting on Wednesday, January 7th.
‘Backs Head Coach Brandon West with his thought’s ahead of tonight’s game.
The ‘Backs Josh Laframboise earned a BCHL Player of the Week Honourable mention after goals in back-to-back games this past Friday at home to the Warriors and two goals on Saturday versus the Centennials in Merritt. The 18-year-old of Regina, Sask. now has eight goals and four assists in 30 games since he was acquired by the Silverbacks from the Penticton Vees in November. Laframboise has 11 goals and nine assists in 51 games overall this season.
The Silverbacks will be back in action on Friday, February 13th at 7p.m. as they travel to Vernon to take on the Vipers. The ‘Backs next home game at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm is at 7p.m. on Friday, February 20th when they will host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
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 Trail will begin with the Pre-game show at 7:15p.m., the Opening Face-off is set for 7:30p.m.