Heading into round one of the BCHL playoffs against local rivals the Vernon Vipers, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks are looking to keep their composure and let their performance on the ice speak for itself.
“I think most important for our group is to stick to our game plan and worry about what is going on in our room,” said coach Tanner Cochrane.
“For the first time since our trade deadline we are going to be healthy and not missing players, and through that I think our group showed a lot of resilience.”
So far in the playoff series, Vernon is up 2-1 over the Silverbacks after two overtime wins.
Game one of the series, March 1 in Vernon, saw the Silverbacks chalk up a 5-3 victory on Vernon’s home ice with goals from Jonathan Krahn, Andy Stevens, Jack Sampson, John Little and Trevor Adams.
Game two was tight down to the wire, hanging at 1-1 despite many attempts late in the third. Josh Latta of Vernon sealed it in overtime, with Hudson Schandor scoring Salmon Arm’s one goal of the game.
Game three, the first on the Silverbacks’ home ice, was another nail-biter, sticking at a 1-1 stalemate until Vernon took it in overtime again. Justin Wilson scored Salmon Arm’s lone goal.
Wilson’s final season in the BCHL is wrapping up with these playoffs, and he says this series against Vernon is a nice way to get the action started.
“We are feeling pretty confident going into playoffs, we like the way we match up against Vernon and I think it’s going to be a good series,” Wilson said.
“They definitely have a good group of forwards and their defensive core is pretty solid too. We will just have to play our game, play down low against their defence and get some quick transitions going.”
The Silverbacks put up a 5-1 record against Vernon in the regular season, including a pair of overtime wins. Cochrane points out, however, that it’s risky to make assumptions based off of those stats.
“I see a lot of positives for our group heading into the playoffs, but you have to look past the regular season success we had against Vernon because everyone starts at 0-0 here,” Cochrane said.
“We have come up with a specific game plan for a seven-game series against them. It’s the first time in a season where you will see one team over an extended period of time so you can key in on their tactics.”
Game four of the playoff series hits the ice at the Shaw Centre tonight (Wednesday, March 6) with game five set in Vernon for March 8.