Two wins over the weekend increased the ’Backs unbeaten run to four games and propelled them into the nation’s top 20 power rankings.
The Silverbacks find themselves ranked 18th in the Pointstreak Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) Top 20 weekly rankings, which are based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the team plays, winning percentage, win-loss record, total points accumulated, etc.
“It’s an honour to be recognized by the league, it is something to be proud of,” said head coach Brandon West.
“There is still a lot of work ahead of us, we have some things we have to fine tune and we can’t get to far ahead of ourselves, it’s only October.”
In the BCHL the ’Backs hold a 10-3-2 record, sitting third place in the league and second in their division. They also boast the BCHL’s most lethal offence scoring and average of 4.4 goals per game, 1.2 more than last year. West was quick to point out that his team’s ability to play on both sides of the puck has been a major factor in the Silverbacks early season success.
“I think our depth both offensively and defensively has been a huge part of our team.”
On Friday evening at the Shaw Centre, Brandon Kegler got the nod against the Victoria Grizzlies, his third start of the season. Salmon Arm took an early bite out of the Grizzlies when Jared Turcotte banged in a rebound only 36 seconds into the game.
The ’Backs forecheck overwhelmed the Grizzlies causing numerous turnovers and scoring chances. Taro Hirose picked up his second of the season when the puck deflected off his hip from a Brett Stewart point shot. The flow and pace of the game carried over into the second and both teams were forced to change on the fly, as whistles were hard to come by.
Ross Heidt and Colton Thibault each scored in the middle frame, before Turcotte book ended the scoring with a goal in the third for the 5-1 win.
“Kegler made many timely saves and put in a solid 60 minutes,” said West.
Kegler made 41 saves and was named first star in his first BCHL win.
On Sunday afternoon in Merritt the ’Backs offence again proved to be the difference maker as they won 5-4. Three goals came on the power play from Marcus Mitchell, Carson Bolduc, Cameron Trott and a pair of even-strength goals from Heidt.
“The win on Friday night at home definitely set us up to have a good weekend,” said West.
College scouts have appeared to notice the Silverbacks great start to the season as both Heidt and Nick Hutchison signed college commitments with University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks and Canisius College Golden Griffins respectively.
The ’Backs are on the road this evening in Vernon, before returning home to host the Warriors at the Shaw Centre at 7 p.m.