Tonight – Salmon Arm Silverbacks (17-14-4-0) at Langley Rivermen (16-18-1-0)
7 p.m. at George Preston Arena in Langley
Presented by the BCIHL
Ethan Leyh scored his second goal of the game 3:32 into overtime and Shayne Battler stopped 41 of 44 shots as the Rivermen skated to a 4-3 road win over the Silverbacks on Nov. 28 in the only previous meeting between the teams. Justin Wilson, Matthew Verboon and Trevor Adams each had multi-point games and Matthew Armitage made 45 saves for Salmon Arm in a losing effort. Daneel Lategan and Trevor Ayre had the other goals for Langley.
Silverbacks forward Matthew Verboon leads the team in points (29) and goals (13), but the team will have to play without him as he is currently with Team Switzerland at the World Junior Championships. Noah Wakeford is the team’s second-leading scorer with 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists). Akito Hirose leads the offence from the blueline, putting up 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 29 games. In the crease, Ethan Langenegger has made 25 appearances for Salmon Arm this year and owns a 12-12-0 record and a .904 save percentage.
Rivermen defenceman Alec Capstick comes into tonight riding a four-game point streak. He’s put up one goal and three assists over that stretch. Langley’s leading scorer is Ethan Leyh who has 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists) in 29 games this season and will play his first game since returning from a successful stint with Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge where he had three goals and two assists in six tournament games. Rivermen forward Trevor Ayre leads the team in goals with 18 and is third in team scoring with 25 points. Langley netminder Braedon Fleming has a 12-14-2 record with a .902 save percentage and a 2.91 goals-against average, while his goaltending partner Shayne Battler has a 4-2-1 record with a .914 save percentage and a 2.45 goals-against average.
What’s at Stake
Salmon Arm are currently in fifth place in the Interior Division, two points up on the sixth-place Trail Smoke Eaters and five clear of the seventh-place Vernon Vipers. They are six points back of the Merritt Centennials for fourth in the standings.
Langley sits in fourth place in the Mainland Division, eight points back of the third-place Coquitlam Express.
From the Broadcast Booth
Salmon Arm Silverbacks play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Lepper on the only previous meeting between the teams on Nov. 28:
“It was a free-wheeling game with 93 combined shots on goal. Both teams generated a lot of chances and I know the Silverbacks thought they could have come away with two points. When I worked with Prince George, I had the chance to see Ethan Leyh AP for the team. He was good then and he has only improved. As a broadcaster, every time he touches the puck you expect something to happen and he certainly didn’t disappoint with the opening and closing goals.”
Lepper on what the Silverbacks need to do to climb the standings in the Interior Division:
“There are a number of rookies on the team who are still getting used to this level with the skill and speed needed to compete every game. With the two-week break, the team expects to come back in the new year refreshed and with a young group that will have learned a lot. The chemistry continues to build for this group as well with just two transactions being made since the start of the season.”
Lepper on Salmon Arm forward Matthew Verboon being invited to Team Switzerland’s selection camp for the World Junior Championships:
“You could tell when he heard he was being invited it was a great honour. He played in the U18 World Juniors last year, so it was awesome to see him get the call again this season. For our team, it’s very exciting to have the only player representing the BCHL at the World Juniors. Before I even knew he was going to be on the team, I bought tickets for the Canada vs. Switzerland game, so that’s going to be super exciting on a personal level to watch him.”
Langley Rivermen play-by-play broadcaster Mike Bordignon on the Nov. 28 game between the teams:
“What stood out for me was the good breakout and tape-to-tape passing that created great scoring chances throughout the game. Tight checking during some points of the game played a key role in keeping it a low-scoring affair.”
Bordignon on Ethan Leyh’s experience at the World Junior A Challenge:
“Participating in a tournament of that caliber will speak volumes for Ethan down the stretch. The game will seem a little slower for him and that can turn into more scoring as he will be able to read the ice well.”
Bordignon on who was able to step up in Leyh’s absence the past two weeks:
“Most notably had to be Trevor Ayre and Daneel Lategan. They led by example and really carried the load offensively, but I would be hard pressed not to mention some of the rookies that relished in getting some more playing time. Guys like Kalen Szeto and Riley Wallack have made things very difficult for head coach Bobby Henderson to give them less ice time.”
ABOUT THE BCIHL
The British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League was created with the purpose of offering a venue for competitive, high-calibre hockey that’s close to home for players beyond their junior careers. The league was launched in 2006 and now includes five member teams: Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University, the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University. This season, 25 graduates with over 2750 games of BCHL experience are pursuing their academic and athletic goals in the BCIHL. To learn more about the BCIHL and playing opportunities for BCHL grads, visit BCIHL.ca.