Rhett Kingston of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks carries the puck up the ice as Vernon Viper Chris Jandric checks him during a game at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Dec. 8.-image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

Vipers shut the door on Silverbacks

‘Backs trade Latta and Mitchell hoping to shore up defence and add muscle

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks were shut out by the visiting Vernon Vipers on Friday night. The loss is the Silverbacks’ eighth straight as the team nears the end of a difficult December.

Neither team was able to score in the first or second periods, which saw the Vipers out-shoot the Silverbacks 12-6 in the first, but the ‘Backs rebounded in the second, putting 11 shots on goal compared to Vernon’s six.

Vernon’s offence came alive early in the third with a goal from Jesse Lansdell just after the one-minute mark. Jordan Sandhu stretched Vernon’s lead to two goals just over a minute later.

Just after the five-minute mark Josh Prokop fired a shot past Kyle Dumba in net for the Silverbacks.

A goal near the end of the third frame from Cameron Trott wrapped up a 4-0 win for the Vipers.

Before Friday night’s game, on Dec. 27 the Silverbacks dealt forward Marcus Mitchell to the Penticton Vees in exchange for D-man Joseph Leahy.

“It is a bitter-sweet day for the Silverbacks organization in that we are announcing that we have traded Marcus Mitchell to the Penticton Vees for defenceman Joe Leahy. We are very sorry to see Marcus leave the program but felt that our team’s most immediate need was to shore up our defence,” said Silverbacks Head Coach and General Manager Scott Atkinson.

“We wish Marcus nothing but success with his new team. We are very excited about adding a player of Leahy’s calibre to our roster and at 6’4, 210 lbs we see him as a top-end defenceman who can contribute in all situations. The fact that he brings a full skill-set and a championship pedigree will be meaningful to our team’s culture.”

Mitchell had spent the last two-and-a-half years as a Silverback; he played in 122 games and tallied 27 goals and 34 assists.

Following the game, the ‘Backs announced they traded Josh Latta to the Vipers for Brandon Whistle in hopes of adding more size and strength to their forwards.

“Josh was a very good player for us but we are looking to play a bit of a heavier game… A bigger, stronger forward fits our game plan more than a smaller, speedier guy at this point,” Atkinson said.

Whistle stands 6’1” tall and weighs 205 lbs. The 20-year-old from West Kelowna played three seasons with the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the AJHL before joining the Vipers a month ago.

The Silverbacks will get their final chance to win a game in December and end their losing streak as they travel to Vernon for a rematch tonight.


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