’Backs to be tested in home opener

Friday: Team will face rival Vipers.

Though they finished the pre-season winless in three tries and go into the season opener Friday in Vernon with a starting goalie who hasn’t faced game action yet, the Salmon Arm SilverBacks feel they’ve done all they can to prepare for the 2011-12 campaign.

The team’s last result was a 6-3 loss to the Westside Warriors Friday at Sunwave Centre. Goaltending duties were again split between Adam Clarke, who has won the backup job, and Aaron Brandoli who will be listed as a ’Backs affiliate player and will report to the Junior B Sicamous Eagles. Number-one netminder Kurt Williams was unable to play pre-season games as he recovered from a hip injury.

In the final tune-up for the regular season, coach Colin O’Hara saw his team get out to a sluggish start against the visiting Warriors who are led this season by former Gorillas bench boss Rylan Ferster. However, the home side turned the tide in the opening 20 minutes to take a one-goal lead into the locker room.

“We were kind of slow out of the gates, they scored first but we battled back and felt we deserved the 2-1 lead after one,” said O’Hara, adding that sniper Bryce Gervais was shut down after the opening frame. “But we were bad again at the start of the second.”

A goal off an offensive zone faceoff salvaged a 3-3 score heading into the third. But the final 20 minutes of the game were poor for the SilverBacks and Westside scored three times to seal the win.

The coaching staff now has a 21-man roster with Brandoli and forwards Jake Matkin and Ryan Crosson being the final cuts. Brett Knowles, who was announced as the team’s captain last week, Gervais and Morgan Zulinick are expected to lead offensively but O’Hara says they’ll be split up to spread out the scoring. Devin Muller and Kody Dhaliwal are veteran BCHLers who will provide secondary scoring and Stefan Nicholishen is a big body with two BCHL seasons behind him.

On defence, Matt Brown and Brendan Kennedy will likely pair up as will Sean Flannagan and Klay Kachur. James Friedel and Bennett Hambrook look like the fifth and sixth blueliners on the depth chart right now.

Salmon Arm should find out in a hurry what kind of group they have as they’ll be tested with back-to-back games against the defending BCHL champion Vernon Vipers. Vernon hosts Salmon Arm Friday at 7 p.m. and then comes to Sunwave Centre Saturday for a 7 p.m. faceoff.

 

 

Just Posted

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

In photos: The 27th Annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival

Images from Friday evening and Saturday at the festival grounds.

Summerland cannabis shop receives approval in principle

Inspection now required before Green Gaia may sell cannabis

North Okanagan-Shuswap Liberal candidate responds to Trudeau ethics report

Prime Minister’s immediate response to commissioner’s findings appreciated

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Summerland’s downtown has gone through numerous changes

Main Street has been commercial hub of community for many years

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Okanagan climate advocacy group protests against Tolko

Group to demonstrate outside Vernon head office Monday over plan to log close to water supply

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

Most Read