- BC Games
A win, a loss and a tie for ’Backs
In the BCHL’s air-tight Interior Division, where just four points separate first from fifth, every result is crucial and last weekend, there was some good and some not for the Salmon Arm SilverBacks.
Things did not end on a super note as the West Kelowna Warriors continue to be the ’Backs’ kryptonite and earned a 4-1 win after Salmon Arm had defeated the Coquitlam Express 4-3 on Saturday and tied the Merritt Centennials 5-5 on Friday.
The SilverBacks have earned points off every Interior team except the Warriors. On Sunday, it was a pair of quick goals by West Kelowna’s Carl Hesler to begin the game that proved to be enough, though Gorillas captain Blake Box thought the opposition was fortunate.
“The first couple goals were pretty lucky goals, a lucky bounce from behind the net then a shot off the post and a weird rebound,” said the second-year defenceman from Plano, Texas. “I don’t know if it was that we weren’t prepared but it wasn’t the start we wanted.”
West Kelowna wound up with a 45-23 edge in shots on goal and may have been fresher as they had just two games on the weekend with a day off on Saturday.
“I don’t really know; we got outshot pretty bad,” said Box. “I think we need to break up their cycle. We have to spend more time in the offensive zone than the defensive zone against a team like that.”
Saturday at Shaw Centre, Salmon Arm host a Coquitlam team that had begun the year 7-0 on the road but were able to break their streak with another goal from Alex Gillies, which came early in the third period. Box said the coaches stressed it was a good road club they’d be facing in the Express.
“They’ve had a lot of success on the road and to have success on the road you’ve got to work hard,” said Box. “You know you have to outwork them for 60 minutes, you have to match that.”
And it doesn’t hurt that the line of Evan Anderson between Gillies and Landon Smith continues to click. Smith and Gillies combined for five points on the night and were name first and third star respectively.
“They all work phenomenal together,” said Box. “Any puck near them, they’re going to knock it down and get it. They’re good at hunting guys down from behind and stealing pucks.
“Every chance they get, they bury the puck.”
Friday’s game at Nicola Valley Arena in Merritt with its tight confines brought a standard array of funky puck bounces and lots of goals. Leads changed hands multiple times but it was Gillies who secured the single point with the last goal of the game.
“Any place in that (Merritt) rink is in a shooting area and that had a lot to do with it (high score),” said Box. “In that rink, when you shoot, you have a scoring chance.”
Salmon Arm hosts the Penticton Vees Saturday at 7 p.m. and then get a rematch with the Centennials on Sunday in a 3 p.m. start.
Gillies gets noticed
SilverBacks forward Alex Gillies is one of the 66 players that will attend the Canada West selection camp in preparation for the 2013 World Junior A Challenge.
He was the lone SilverBacks player to be selected for the prestigious camp.
Players were selected from the CJHL’s five western junior A leagues: the BCHL, Alberta Junior Hockey League, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Manitoba Junior Hockey League and Superior International Junior Hockey League.
A total of 22 players will form the roster for November’s World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, N.S.