After back-to-back games this past weekend against Merritt and Trail, the Silverbacks have a 3-1 start to the season.
The Silverbacks share their 3-1 record with Merritt, Penticton and West Kelowna in a log jam atop the Interior Division.
Last Friday the ’Backs played host to the Merritt Centennials in their home opener at Shaw Centre, in front of a crowd of more than 1,200 fans.
The Cents’ Braden Fuller opened scoring just three and a half minutes into the game, silencing the enthusiastic crowd.
Merritt took the life out of the building, and held on to a majority of the puck possession, hemming the Silverbacks in their own zone.
A goal from the high slot by Carson Bolduc, his third of the season in as many games, tied up the game and brought the fans to their feet.
An aggressive two-man forecheck by the Cents’ made it difficult for Salmon Arm to break out, which forced many uncharacteristic turnovers by the ’Backs defence.
Salmon Arm turned the tide in the second period, and started to take the game to Merritt.
The Silverbacks forced the Centennials into looking for long break out passes that only resulted in icings.
One of those icings later resulted in the go-ahead-goal for the ‘Backs, courtesy of captain, Bryden Marsh’s first goal of the season.
Salmon Arm nearly increased their lead on a shorthanded two-on-one chance, but Merritt’s goaltender, Anthony Pupplo, made a great save.
The play was quickly turned up ice by the speedy Diego Cuglietta, and the Cents’ took advantage of their power play and took the lead.
Merritt didn’t look back after that and quickly scored another before the end of the second period.
Salmon Arm’s puck carriers were left with very little space or time on the puck, and could not gain an offensive zone presence.
The Centennials used a high line of pressure in the neutral zone, forcing the Silverbacks to dump the puck in and chase the play.
As quick as the puck was dumped in, it was back out by Merritt, and in the Silverbacks own zone.
Angus Redmond held his own in net stopping many great chances, but was let down by a defence that looked out of sorts.
Merritt would go on to add two more goals, despite a little push back by the ’Backs in the last few moments of the game.
The following day the Silverbacks made the trip down to Trail.
Lead offensively by Calgary-native Taro Hirose, the Silverbacks won 4-2 in a bounce-back performance.
The ’Backs next home game is against the Penticton Vees, this Saturday with a 7 p.m. start.