Silverbacks’ forward Noah Wakeford scans the ice for passing options as Merritt players close in from all angles during the ‘Backs home-opener Sept. 7 at the Shaw Centre, where they won 4-2. The Silverbacks suffered a 5-0 loss during their most recent visit to Merritt Oct. 17, which saw four players off the ice due to injuries and a suspension. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Depleted roster contributes to Silverbacks’ 5-0 loss to Merritt

Four key players off the ice due to injury, suspension

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks suffered their second shut-out loss in a row at the hands of the Merritt Centennials in a game that saw four of their regular line-up off the ice.

Yewta Plamondon, Nick Unruh and Justin Wilson were all out with injuries, while Silverbacks’ captain Sol Seibel served the first game of a four-game suspension he received for a major penalty after a hit to the head against a Prince George Spruce Kings’ player during their Oct. 13 game.

Related: Silverbacks win over Penticton Vees, lose to Prince George

Merritt built up a two-goal lead late in the first off goals from Vincent Guy and Nick Granowicz amidst a back-and-forth series of power plays that saw both teams playing short-handed.

The second period was more of a slow burn, seeing no goals until the very end when Merritt’s Mathieu Gosselin fired one in with a mere five seconds left on the clock. Despite Merritt taking the lion’s share of penalties in the second period, Salmon Arm couldn’t convert the man-advantage into a goal and found themselves weighed down by a three-goal deficit coming into the third.

The Centennials came out hot in the final period, scoring a fourth goal off the stick of Ben Ward just over three minutes in. Salmon Arm took a trio of penalties through the third and Merritt’s Nicholas Wicks would score their fifth and final of the night just a minute after the Silverbacks were getting off the penalty-kill.

Related: Around the BCHL: Youth trumps experience for Chilliwack and Salmon Arm

While shots-on-goal were fairly even, split 42-34 in favour of Merritt, the Centennials were able to convert attempts into points and sealed the victory over Salmon Arm. The two teams have faced off three times so far this season, with the Centennials claiming two victories and the ‘Backs locking down one during the season’s home-opener.

The Silverbacks are on home ice at the Shaw Centre for two more games this week, hosting the Alberni Valley Bulldogs Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and the Vernon Vipers Sunday, Oct. 21 at 3 p.m. for an early game. Both of these home games also feature a special surprise for local fans.

During the first intermission of the Friday game against Alberni Valley, the Silverbacks will be hosting a shootout competition sponsored by Braby Motors where some lucky fans will get the chance to win prizes — including a car — for making a shot on goal.

Two fans will shoot from the ringette line to win a detailing package, two fans will shoot from the close blue-line to win free oil changes for a year, and two fans will shoot from the far blue-line for a chance to win a car.

After the matchup against Vernon on Sunday, fans can join the Silverbacks on the ice for a public skate session, so pack a pair of skates and take the opportunity to share the rink with the local junior A squad.


 

@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

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