Riley Brandt of the Vernon Vipers

Riley Brandt of the Vernon Vipers

Silverbacks stop Vipers in drive for playoff spot

Check-till-ya-drop and look to Angus Redmond for big saves.

Morning Star Staff

Check-till-ya-drop and look to Angus Redmond for big saves.

It’s a strategy working wonders for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks as they try and secure a playoff berth in the Interior Division of the B.C. Hockey League.

The Silverbacks, Merritt Centennials and West Kelowna Warriors shared third place with 62 points apiece after weekend play. Salmon Arm visited the Langley Rivermen Tuesday night in a highly winnable game.

Salmon Arm grounded the Vernon Vipers 4-2 before 1,700 fans Saturday night at the Shaw Centre.

Redmond pocketed 19 saves and has allowed just four goals in his last four games against the Snakes, who will finish second in the Interior and are waiting to see who places third and becomes their playoff partner.

Vernon opens the playoffs Tuesday night at home. Game 2 in the best-of-seven series goes the following night, also at Kal Tire Place. Games 3 and 4 will be Friday and Saturday night somewhere else in the Interior.

Veteran defenceman Jordan Burns, of Vernon, says the Gorillas are a calm bunch despite what’s on the line over the next five days.

“I think it’s (mindset) excitement rather than nervous,” said Burns. “The guys have confidence and we’re obvously anxious to play these final games and see what happens. We’re just concerned about what we’re doing; we’re not looking at who Merritt and West Kelowna have left.”

Salmon Arm, who barely missed the post-season dance last year, entertain the Cents Friday night at the Shaw Centre and finish the regular season Saturday night at the No. 6 nationally-ranked Penticton Vees.

The Cents host two last-place teams in the Surrey Eagles (tonight) and the Trail Smoke Eaters (Saturday). West Kelowna tangled with the visiting Smokies  Tuesday night and then battle Surrey Saturday at Royal LePage Place.

The Silverbacks and Coquitlam Express are the hottest teams in the BCHL, going 8-2 in their last 10 tilts.

Redmond, who played just nine games two years ago as Adam Clark’s caddy, got in 29 games last season and is the definite go-to-guy with 47 appearances this campaign.

“We’ve got great defence,” said Burns, chosen second star in a 4-3 win over Alberni Valley Bulldogs Saturday night.

“If it’s not a powerplay goal, we don’t give up too many. Angus is playing unreal. He hasn’t let in any soft ones and he’s been really solid. The goals that do beat him are back door or two-on-ones where they make a nice pass. We have a lot of trust in him.”


See VIPERS on A26