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GAME PREVIEW: Smoke Eaters Head To Shuswap For Battle vs. Silverbacks

PHOTO: Mike Hockley

The Trail Smoke Eaters head out on the road as they make their first trip to the Shuswap this season to face-off against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday night at the Shaw Centre.

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Smoke Eaters vs. Silverbacks 2018/19 Regular Season Schedule:

Friday, September 14th @ Trail Memorial Centre (6-3 Smoke Eaters) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, October 27th @ Shaw Centre (7:00 PM)

Friday, January 25th @ Trail Memorial Centre (7:00 PM)

Saturday, January 26th @ Trail Memorial Centre (7:00 PM)

Friday, February 8th @ Shaw Centre (7:00 PM)

Saturday, February 9th @ Shaw Centre (7:00 PM)

The Smoke Eaters and Silverbacks have met once so far in the 2018/19 season and will meet for the final time before the new year tonight in Salmon Arm. Trail picked up a6-3 victory over the ‘Backs in the middle of September to kick-off the season set. Former Smoke Eater Levi Glasman scored twice while Hayden Rowan, Carter Jones, Mack Byers and Trevor Zins added singles in the win for the Smokies while Adam Marcoux made 27 saves on 30 shots in the victory.

Trail comes into Saturday night’s action after a 5-2 loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings a night ago on home ice that stretched their winless drought to five games. Kent Johnson and Bryce Anderson found the back of the net with goals while Adam Marcoux turned aside 20 of the 24 shots he faced in the game in the defeat.

Smoke Eaters Leading Scorers:

Braeden Tuck (7-11-18)

Trevor Zins (5-12-17)

Kent Johnson (9-6-15)

Carter Jones (4-10-14)

Diarmad DiMurro (0-13-13)

The Smoke Eaters have had an offensively-driven blue line this season and second-year defender Trevor Zins has led that charge as he sits in a tie for 2nd in scoring amongst defensemen in the BCHL with 5 goals and 12 assists for 17 points. The Saint Michael, Minnesota native is currently riding a four-game point streak which has seen him compile a goal and four assists for five points over that span.

Trail will look to try and snap their five-game winless stretch tonight in Salmon Arm with their first periods being a point of emphasis. The Smoke Eaters have surrendered ten goals in the 1st period over their last five games and sit in 15th in the BC Hockey League with 65 goals against this season.

A venue that could help the Smoke Eaters snap their recent skid is the Shaw Centre as Trail is undefeated in Salmon Arm in their last five visits to the Shuswap. The Smoke Eaters won each game against the ‘Backs in their building a year ago and earned a tie with a victory over the course of the 2016/17 season. The last time Trail lost a game in Salmon Arm was December 3rd, 2017 and have outscored the Silverbacks by a 20-13 margin in that time.

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks enter Saturday night’s contest with an 8-7-1-0 record and suffered a 4-1 loss on Friday night in West Kelowna against the Warriors. Yewta Plamondon scored the lone Silverbacks tally in the game while Ethan Langenegger made 31 saves on 34 shots in his 7th loss of the season.

Silverbacks Leading Scorers:

Matthew Verboon (6-8-14)

Noah Wakeford (3-10-13)

Justin Wilson (5-7-12)

Trevor Adams (7-4-11)

Akito Hirose (2-9-11)

Salmon Arm made a big transaction on Thursday as the team announced they had acquired goaltender Matt Armitage from the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) after being released from the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The 19-year-old from Creston, BC played in 19 games with the Hitmen a season ago, earning a 4-7 record to go along with a 3.55 GAA and a .890 SV% and is expected to make his Silverback debut against the Smoke Eaters tonight.

It’s been tough sledding for any team that has visited the Shaw Centre this season, even despite the strong numbers the Smoke Eaters have recently put up. The Silverbacks hold a 7-1-1-0 record on home ice this season, which ties with the Coquitlam Express for the league’s best record at home. Salmon Arm has a +11-goal differential when playing at the Shaw Centre, scoring 33 goals while surrendering just 22 goals against and have won their last three games on home ice.

Nick Unruh has seen a strong line of production coming into the game on Saturday night as he has five goals in his last three games including his first career hat-trick coming on October 19th against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. The Fort McMurray, Alberta native returns to the Silverbacks for his second season and has half the amount of goals he did from a season ago in just 15 games after scoring 12 tallies in 54 games last season.

The Smoke Eaters and Silverbacks drop the puck at 7:00 PM from the Shaw Centre tonight with the game being broadcasted live on mixlr.com/trail-smoke-eaters as well as on HockeyTV.com. The pre-game show gets underway at 6:50 PM with the Voice of the Smoke Eaters, Trevor Miller.