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Weekly Preview

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs take to the road this weekend for their first Multi-game road trip of the season and their first taste of Interior Conference teams as they visit Merritt Friday, Salmon Arm Saturday, and the defending National Champion Vernon Vipers Sunday afternoon.
Friday in Merritt the Dogs will be facing an improved Centennials team who bring in a record of 3-5-0-and 1 good for 7 points in the Interior Conference. The Cents were last in action Tuesday night like the Dogs, as they stomped the Trail Smoke Eaters with an 8-3 win at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.  It was the Smokies getting on the board first just over two minutes into the game, but the Cents came back with a vengeance scoring three in a row to end the first up 3-1. David Sabey and Alex Valenti (with two) had the goals. Just over a minute into the second Jeff Jones found the net to put the Cents up 4-1, and it would be Jones again ten minutes later adding a power play marker for a 5-1 Merritt lead after 40 minutes. Just short of five minutes into the third the lead was 6-1 with Alex Valenti scoring, but the Smokies got that one back less than a minute later to make it 5-2. Five minutes later they found the net again to make it 5-3, but that would be as close as they would get as Colton Sobchak and Ryne Bodger added power play markers 20 seconds apart with less than two minutes left for the 8-3 final score.
Surprisingly enough, shots favoured the Smoke Eaters 46-30 with Keith Hamilton earning the win and first star honours in net. Special teams were a big difference in this one with Merritt going 3 for 5 on the power play while killing off all 5 penalties they took.
With the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena having a smaller than regulation ice surface, it?s imperative that the Bulldogs be ready to go from the opening puck drop, because things will be happening quicker than usual and there is less space and time out there.
 Catch the pre game show Friday at 7:15 on 93.3 The Peak FM or  with the play by play to follow at 7:30pm.
Saturday sees the Dogs facing the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the Sunwave Centre. The Silverbacks are currently unbeaten in three and on a two game winning streak after a 7-3 win last Saturday over the Merritt Centennials at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena that left them with a 5-3-1 and 1 record good for 12 points. The Bulldogs will be facing a rested and no doubt hungry team, as the Backs have had a full week off to prepare for them as they don?t play this week until Saturday night. In the 7-3 win over the Centennials on Saturday the ?Backs took control early, up 2-0 before the game was seven minutes old on goals by Matt Cassidy and Mark Zengerle. They further asserted themselves in the second, jumping out to a 5-0 lead before the eight minute mark on two goals from David Killip on the power play and a Josh Manson single. Later in the period the Cents finally got on the board, trimming the gap to 5-1 and then 5-2 just a minute later with a power play goal of their own. One more Centennial power play goal before the period was out made a game of it at 5-3 after three periods. The Silverbacks ended any hope of a comeback with a Mark Zengerle goal just 30 seconds into the third for a 6-3 advantage. A shorthanded goal by Brett Knowles with a minute left made it a 7-3 final.
Final shots favoured the Cents 44-33 with Tony Ierfino picking up the win and third star honours in net. The Silverbacks were 2 for 7 on the power play while the Centennials were 2 for 6.

I don?t know what it is with the Dogs and ?Backs but it seems that every time they meet up the game is an exciting one. If the Dogs hope to get two points on the road they will have to keep a close eye on Mark Zengerle,  as he is absolutely ripping it up averaging over two and a half points per game. Defence might be the name of the game in this one, as the Silverbacks have scored 19 goals in their last three games.
Saturday?s pregame show kicks off at 6:45 with the puck dropping at 7:00 on 93.3 The Peak FM and online at