Defenceman Akito Hirose skates the puck up the ice, flanked by Andy Stevens and Matthew Verboon and trailed by two Merritt players. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm Silverbacks drop Merritt 4-2 in home opener game

Locking down first win of the season on home-ice

The Silverbacks kicked the 2018-19 season off on a strong note, dropping the Merritt Centennials 4-2 in a home opener at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.

Sporting a new look in the opening match of the season with their snazzy new purple and white jerseys, and led by newly-appointed captain Sol Seibel, the ’Backs hit the ice eager to make a strong showing for the hometown crowd.

Related: Salmon Arm Minor Hockey partners with Silverbacks

Seibel was named captain just a day before the game against Merritt. He joined the Silverbacks midway through last season, off a trade from Vernon, with the 2018-19 season being his third in the BCHL. The defenceman came to Salmon Arm with 92 games under his belt and 20 points to his name, adding another in his first game this season.

In the first period things opened up a little rocky for the Silverbacks as Merritt forward Rylan Van Unen put in a goal shortly into the period and Frazer Dodd followed it up just over halfway through to make it 2-0 for Merritt. The remainder of the first was scoreless and saw both teams on the penalty kill for several minutes.

The Silverbacks came out of the dressing room in the second period with vengeance on their minds, however, tying up the scoreboard and then taking a one-point lead before the period was even half over. Akito Hirose scored the first Silverbacks goal, assisted by Noah Wakeford and Nick Unruh. Hirose also assisted on Matthew Verboon’s second goal for the ’Backs along with Andy Stevens. The third Silverbacks goal of the period went to Justin Wilson, assisted by Trevor Adams and Hudson Schandor.

In the third, Merritt would look to even up the one-goal lead Salmon Arm sketched out in the second period, but solid defensive play and a fourth goal on the power-play by Hudson Schandor, assisted by Sol Seibel and Trevor Adams, would seal the game in favour of Salmon Arm.

The Silverbacks are on the ice again Sept. 14 in Trail against the Smoke Eaters, followed up the next night Sept. 15 at the Shaw Centre for a rematch against Merritt.

Related: NHL players join Silverbacks for Pro Am game



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Silverbacks forward Noah Wakeford scans the ice for passing options as Merritt players close in from all angles during the ‘Backs home opener Sept. 7 at the Shaw Centre. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Silverbacks forward Wyatt Marlow dangles around a Merritt defender as he attempts to move in for a shot on goal. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Silverbacks forward Justin Wilson takes the puck behind the Merritt net as defenders close in during the ‘Backs home opener. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

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