The Salmon Arm SilverBacks are once again tied with the Trail Smoke Eaters for fourth spot in the Interior Division playoff race with only two weeks remain in the regular season.
This weekend the SilverBacks visit Powell River on Friday, Port Alberni on Saturday and Coquitlam on Sunday in what may be a 'make-it or break-it' trio of games.
The 'Backs will also spend some time watching the BCHL scoreboard as well, the Trail Smoke Eaters play in Penticton on Friday and host Penticton on Saturday. The Smokies will only have one more game remaining following this weekend.
For the 'Backs this is the beginning of a five game road trip to end the season, next weekend they depart for Merritt and Prince George to cap off what will be a 2,800km road trip in just a nine day span.
- The Salmon Arm SilverBacks (22-23-2-4) (4th in Interior Div) (38 for 205 PP - 18.54%) (83.73% PK)
- Leading Scorer: Shane Hanna - 12G, 32A
- Likely starter: Three games in two and a half days means that Adam Clark will at one point take a seat on the bench in favour of Angus Redmond. My guess would be Saturday or Sunday.
- Last week: Only one game for the 'Backs, who snapped a five game losing skid with a 3-2 win over Vernon.
- Who's Hot: Ryan Schwalbe returned the line-up with a bang, scoring the 'Backs winning goal to make it six wins over the Vipers this season.
- The Powell River Kings (19-25-2-8) (4th in Island Div) (46 for 237 PP - 19.41%) (76.79% PK)
- Leading Scorer: Evan Richardson - 15G, 27A
- Likely Starter: Surrey native Jonah Imoo carries the torch for Kent Lewis' Kings; he also holds 17 wins on the season.
- Last week: The Kings lost in overtime to Surrey on Friday before dropping a Saturday contest against Nanaimo by a score of 5-2.
- Who's Hot: Leading scorer Evan Richardson had three of the Kings six goals on the weekend.
- The Alberni Valley Bulldogs (26-19-2-5) (3rd in Island Div) (50 for 253 PP - 19.76%) (81.93% PK)
- Leading Scorer: Evan Tironese - 19G, 36A
- Likely Starter: The Bulldogs' faithful will tell you that 20 year old Jay Deo should be considered as a goalie of the year candidate, hard to disagree with his 19 wins on the season and .917 save %.
- Last week: Alberni crushed Nanaimo 7-1 a day before working to a 4-4 tie against Surrey.
- Who's Hot: Forwards Teal Burns and Ryan Lough combined for nine points over those two games that saw the Bulldogs grab three of four possible points.
- The Coquitlam Express (22-29-1-0) (5th in Mainland Div) (40 for 226 PP - 78.97%) (78.72% PK)
- Leading Scorer: Justin Georgeson - 10G, 23A
- Likely Starter: We're talking about a Sunday afternoon game, but the Express are still within reach of a playoff spot, so don't be surprised to see Cole Huggins between the pipes.
- Last week: The Express took back-to-back wins on home ice over Prince George on Friday and Sunday.
- Who's Hot: 17 year old Adam Rockwood factored into the scoring in both of those victories to keep Coquitlam's hopes alive in the Mainland Division.
- Season Series: The 'Backs are 1-2 on the season against the teams they face this weekend. Coquitlam took a 3-2 win over Salmon Arm back in October. SA topped Alberni Valley by a score of 3-2 in early December; Shane Hanna had the winning goal. Powell River defeated the 'Backs 5-2 in January thanks to 2 goals by J.P Villeneuve.
- Divisions: For your piece of mind, the 'Backs are 4-3-1-1 against the Island Division this season and 3-2-0-3 against the Mainland Division.
- Leading Scorers: Brandon Mistal and Alex Gillies each have a combined three points on the year against the 'Backs opponents this weekend.
- Special Teams: Salmon Arm went 1 for 4 against Coquitlam, 1 for 2 against Alberni Valley and 1 for 1 against Powell River while allowing only one power-play goal against in the loss to Coquitlam.
- Astute BCHL fans are aware of the fact that both Powell River and Alberni Valley have clinched playoff spots, although the Bulldogs have more to play for as they are in reach of home ice advantage; while the Coquitlam Express may be the hungriest of all three teams, they sit only five points back of Langley for the 4th and final playoff spot in the Mainland Division.
- The 'Backs have made two trips this season that also saw them play three games in two and a half days, their record? 3-2-0-1. Another stat worth noting is that Powell River is 4-5-0-4 on Friday's on home ice this season so you can expect a close game to begin the trip.
- 7:30pm Friday at the Hap Parker in Powell River.
- 7pm Saturday at the Weyerhauser Arena in Port Alberni.
- 2pm Sunday at the Palace on Poirier in Coquitlam.
- LISTEN LIVE on the SilverBacks Ustream Channel, here