The Silverbacks take on the Vernon Vipers at 7p.m. tonight in Vernon for the seventh of eight meeting’s between the Interior Division rivals this season. The ‘Backs lead the season series with three wins, two losses and a tie. The Silverbacks come into the game after a 6-5 overtime victory in Trail on Wednesday, February 11th. The ‘Backs opened the scoring in the first period and held leads of 2-1, 4-3 and 5-3 before the Smoke Eaters scored twice in the final six minutes of the third and forced the extra frame. Ross Heidt scored the winner from Josh Blanchard just four seconds into overtime as ‘Backs now have three wins, four losses and three ties in overtime this season. The Silverbacks are 25-19-3-5 with 58 points in 52 games and sit third in the Interior Division, two points of the Merritt Centennials who have two games in hand on the ‘Backs as the Cents occupy the fourth and final playoff spot. The Silverbacks are three points ahead of the West Kelowna Warriors who are in fifth place, both the Warriors and ‘Backs have played 52 games going into tonight’s action.
The Vipers are 32-16-1-3 with 68 points in 52 games and are holding down second place in the Interior with a 10 point advantage over the Silverbacks. Vernon is 13 points behind the division leading Penticton Vees who have already clinched first place.
West Kelowna is at home to Trail tonight at 7p.m., while Merritt is in Powell River for a 7:15p.m. start.
The Vipers are coming off a 2-1 win over the Vees in Penticton on Wednesday, February 11th and are 4-5-0-1 in their last 10 games. The Vipers haven’t played at home since being shutout by the ‘Backs 3-0 on Friday, January 30th. Vernon is 2-2-0-1 in the month of February, 16-12-1-1 versus Interior Division opponents this season and 18-6-1-0 on home ice.
Meanwhile, the ‘Backs have won their last six games dating back to back-to-back shutouts over the Vipers. 3-0 on Friday, January 30th in Vernon and 1-0 on Saturday, January 31st at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm. The Silverbacks are 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 as well as, 4-0-0-0 in February and 17-10-2-3 against the Interior Division. The ‘Backs have also won their last three road games and are now 12-11-1-3 on the road.
The Vipers began the season series with a 3-2 win at home on Friday, October 10th before the Silverbacks evened the series after a 2-1 victory in Salmon Arm on Friday, November 7th. The team’s settled for a 3-3 tie on Saturday, November 8th in Vernon and the Vipers took the series lead later in the month with a 7-5 win at the Shaw Centre on Friday, November 28th. The Silverbacks have won both meetings in 2015 and have shutout the Vipers, 3-0 on Friday, January 30th in Vernon followed by a 1-0 shutout on Saturday, January 31st in Salmon Arm.
The Silverbacks have outscored the Vipers 16-14 in the first six games this season. Vernon is tied for fourth in the league with 191 goals scored in their 52 games, while the Silverbacks are 14th with 172 goals in 52 games. The Vipers are ranked third with 146 goals allowed thus far, while the ‘Backs are right behind in fourth spot with 159 goals against.
The Vipers have three players in the Top 20 in BCHL scoring, as Liam Coughlin is 11th overall and leads the team with 20 goals and 40 assists in 51 games. Liam Finlay is ranked 13th with 22 goals and 34 assists in 49 games and Thomas Aldworth is 18th with 35 goals and 18 assists in 51 games.
Andrew Farny leads the Silverbacks in scoring and is the highest ranked defenseman in the BCHL, 30th overall with 14 goals and 35 assists in 52 games. Taro Hirose is 34th with 18 goals and 29 assists in 52 games.
Vernon’s power-play is ranked 10th with 45 goals and is 3-for-17 in the six games versus the ‘Backs, while the Silverbacks man-advantage is 12th with 39 power-play goals and is 4-for-21 against the Vipers. Vernon’s penalty-kill is fourth in the league and 17-for-21 versus the ‘Backs, while the Silverbacks are ninth on the PK and 14-for-17 against the Vipers.
Silverbacks Head Coach Brandon West with his thought’s ahead of tonight’s game.
After tonight, the Silverbacks have six days until their next action which will be at 7p.m. on Friday, February 20th when they will host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm. And the ‘Backs and Vipers will conclude their regular season series the next night at 7p.m. on Saturday, February 21st at the Shaw Centre.
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 Vernon will begin with the Pre-game show at 6:45p.m., the Opening Face-off is set for 7p.m.