The preseason wrapped up over the weekend for the Silverbacks in a home-and-home series with the West Kelowna Warriors.
The Interior Division rivals split the series, winning in each others buildings.
On Friday evening, after a rough start and giving up the games first goal only, three minutes in, the ’Backs answered back on the powerplay with a beautiful passing play.
However, the equalizer was cancelled out a mere 35 seconds later.
The visiting Warriors were outshot 22-10 in the second period, and took advantage of a frustrated Silverbacks squad, scoring four times in the period.
Tempers quickly boiled over between both sides as the Silverbacks’ Josh Laframboise squared off against the Warriors’ Reed Gunville.
Also joining in the in the rough stuff before the end of the middle frame was ’Backs newcomer Brett Stewart and the Warriors Kyle Uy.
After falling behind 4-2, Taro Hirose and Ross Heidt shared quality scoring chances while short handed to tie the game, but were squandered by the Warriors goaltender Forbes Ploszaj.
The Warriors scoring-fest continued in the third period as they again struck for four goals.
Heidt claimed the games last goal, and the Silverbacks third with a man advantage. The final score on Friday was 10-3 for West Kelowna.
“Our defensive zone play was far from satisfactory,” said a frustrated Brandon West, head coach of the Silverbacks.
“I believe that in our league we can win games when we score three goals, but we won’t win games by giving up 10.”
The two foes renewed acquaintances on the following night in the Okanagan.
Michigan Tech-bound Angus Redmond earned first star honours, stopping 39 of 40 shots as the ’Backs closed out their exhibition season with a 3-1 win over the Warriors.
“We responded with a great effort on Saturday night, we played the game we wanted.”
Redmond coughed up a rebound which was pounced on by West Kelowna’s Gunville, opening the scoring in the first period.
Fort St. James-native Matty Saharchuk found an equalizer in the first period, before Jared Turcotte scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal in the second frame.
Rounding out the scoring and a strong exhibition showing was Colton Thibault.
In the two games against West Kelowna, the ’Backs directed well over 100 shots towards the goal with 88 hitting the target.
Before the game, West said he and the coaching staff discussed the team’s compete level and how defensive responsibility will lead to offensive chances.
The ’Backs coaching staff made the final roster cuts after Saturday’s game, which West admits took longer than he would have liked.
For the 22 men named to the Silverbacks roster, they received a break from hockey before the start of the season.
The team took to Canoe Beach to work on some team building activities.
West was quick to point out the win on Saturday evening did more to bring the team closer than any team building exercise could.
The ’Backs received good news last Monday as Carson Bolduc returned to practice with the team after dealing with personal matters.
On Tuesday, the Silverbacks announced their captains for the upcoming season. Vail, Colo. native Phil Middleton was named the club’s captain, and assistants will be Taro Hirose, Carson Bolduc, and Colton Thibault.
The Silverbacks open their 2015/16 season on Friday versus the defending Fred Page Cup champions, Penticton Vees at the Shaw Centre beginning at 7 p.m.