The Silverbacks host the Merritt Centennials at 7p.m. tonight at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm, as the ‘Backs play their final regular season home game. The Silverbacks are 28-20-3-5 with 64 points in 56 games and currently hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the Interior Division, but the ‘Backs, Cents and West Kelowna Warriors are all tied with 64 points each. The Centennials are 31-23-0-2 with 64 points in 56 games and in third place in the division as they currently have three more wins than the Silverbacks, while the Warriors are 28-21-0-8 with 64 points in 57 games and in the fifth spot. The ‘Backs and Cents each have a game in hand on the Warriors as the Silverbacks will conclude their regular season at 6p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) February 28th versus the Vees in Penticton, while the Centennials will host the Trail Smoke Eaters at 7:30p.m. tomorrow (Saturday). The Warriors are idle tonight and will finish their regular season at 7p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) at home to the Surrey Eagles.
The Silverbacks come into tonight’s game having won their last three games, after a 4-3 double overtime decision over the Rivermen in Langley on Tuesday, February 24th. The ‘Backs are 9-1-0-0 in their last 10 games and 7-1-0-0 in February. The Silverbacks are 15-8-2-2 at the Shaw Centre, and 18-11-2-3 against their Interior Division opponents.
The Centennials have won their last two games and are coming off of a 5-2 win at home over the Surrey Eagles on Wednesday, February 25th. The Cents are 6-4-0-0 in their last 10 games and 6-3-0-0 in February. Merritt is 13-14-0-2 on the road this season, as well as 16-17-0-1 versus the Interior Division.
The ‘Backs lead the season series with the Centennials after four wins and two losses. Each team has won their games in the opponents arena thus far, while the Silverbacks have outscored the Cents 29-18 in the first six 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 before the ‘Backs went onto win the next four meetings and won all four regular season games in Merritt, 5-2 on Saturday, November 29th, 6-3 on Saturday, December 13th, and 7-3 on Saturday, February 7th.
John Schiavo leads the Centennials in scoring with 27 goals and 32 assists in 56 games and is ranked 16th overall in the BCHL, while Gavin Gould is 21st with 24 goals and 33 assists in 56 games and Diego Cuglietta is 35th with 17 goals and 34 assists in 51 games.
Andrew Farny is one of three finalists vying for the BCHL’s Top Defenseman Award. The 19-year-old of Steamboat Springs, Colorado is still the highest scoring defenseman in the league and 39th overall, with 14 goals and 35 assists in 53 games. Taro Hirose leads the Silverbacks with 18 goals and 31 assists in 56 games and is 38th overall.
Carson Bolduc of the ‘Backs has been named an honourable mention for BCHL Player of the Week, after he scored three goals and one assist in wins over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Vernon Vipers this past Friday and Saturday, February 20th and 21st at the Shaw Centre. The 18-year-old of Salmon Arm, BC potted the game winner with 24 seconds remaining in the third period in the Silverbacks 4-2 victory at home over the Vipers.
The ‘Backs have allowed just 169 goals in their 56 games and are ranked fourth in goals-against in the BCHL, while the Cents have given up 201 in their 56 games and are ninth. Merritt has scored 201 goals and is eighth in goals-for among the 16 teams, while the Silverbacks have 185 goals and are 14th.
The Centennials power-play is ranked sixth with 55 goals and is 5-for-18 versus the Silverbacks, while the ‘Backs man-advantage is 11th with 44 goals and 7-for-21 against the Cents. Merritt’s penalty-kill is ranked 7th and 14-for-21 in the season series, meanwhile the Silverbacks PK is 10th and 13-for-18 in the six games versus the Centennials.
‘Backs Head Coach Brandon West with his thought’s ahead of tonight’s game.
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 Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm will begin with the Pre-game show at 6:45p.m., the Opening Face-off is set for 7p.m.