Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer Justin Wilson tries to score on Alberni Valley goaltender Brody Claeys during a game at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Feb. 17.

‘Backs are playoff bound

The Silverbacks are playing consistent hockey as the regular season enters its final week.

Following a three-win weekend in which they clinched their playoff berth, it’s safe to say the Salmon Arm Silverbacks are playing some of their most consistent hockey as the regular season enters its final week.

The ’Backs hosted the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday evening at the Shaw Centre. The last time the two teams met, Salmon Arm walked away with a 3-0 shutout; Friday’s result was more of the same, with the ’Backs beating the Bulldogs 4-0.

The game was scoreless in the opening frame and into the second until Akito Hirose scored assisted by Elijiah Barriga and Carson Bolduc.

Nathan Iannone stretched the ‘Backs’ lead to two goals nine minutes into the third period.

Two empty-net goals, one from Justin Wilson and another from Connor Sundquist, wrapped up the dominating win for the Silverbacks.

The victory against Alberni Valley clinched a playoff berth for Salmon Arm.

The ’Backs travelled to Penticton on Saturday to face the Penticton Vees, who have clinched the Interior Division.

Neither team was able to score in the first period of Saturday’s game.

The ’Backs went on a scoring spree in the second, with twin goals from Connor Sundquist and Nathan Iannone in the opening two minutes.

Seven minutes into the period, Austin Chorney added a power-play marker to make the score 3-0 ‘Backs.

The Vees were able to get on the scoreboard with a goal from Turner Ripplinger late in the second, but it would be their only one of the game.

Jared Turcotte and Ryan Hogg each scored in the third period, wrapping up a 5-1 win for Salmon Arm.

One goal was enough for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks to bring home the win against the visiting Merritt Centennials on Sunday, Feb. 19.

After a scoreless first period, Elijiah Barriga managed to get a shot past ’Cents goaltender Colten Lancaster, assisted by Ante Mustapic.

Although a Merritt power play in the game’s final minute made for an exciting finish, the ’Backs were able to hold on for the win.

The Silverbacks outshot the Centennials 35-29.

This weekend’s wins are one of two three-win streaks the ‘Backs have been able to muster this season. The other streak, in early December, ended with a tie against the Vernon Vipers on Dec. 9.

The Silverbacks are on the road to play Cowichan Valley on Wednesday evening before wrapping up the regular season at home against the West Kelowna Warriors on Feb. 25.

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