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Salmon Arm Silverbacks counting on veteran goalie for calming influence this season

Salmon Arm Silverbacks 2019 Preview
Salmon Arm Silverbacks 2019 Preview

It’s early morning in Salmon Arm and the Silverbacks aren’t on the ice at the Shaw Centre.

They’re in a team meeting, getting ready for a Friday night preseason game against the Vernon Vipers.

The contest will be the Silverbacks’ final preseason game before they finalize their roster.

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“Obviously [we] got a big turnover on our roster, so [we’re] trying to figure out what guys have chemistry with other guys and where guys fit into our lineup,” said Silverbacks assistant coach Tanner Cochrane.

One player who will fit into the lineup like the last piece of a puzzle is veteran goaltender Ethan Langenegger.

“I play a really calm game, which I think settles our team down a lot,” said Langenegger.

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The 18-year-old Kamloops native has just committed to play for Lake Superior State of the NCAA next season.

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“That’s the hope right now,” said Langenegger. “Obviously it’s a really good stepping stone for a junior players to go there and move on to pro from there.”

Langenegger will be expected to anchor the Silverbacks’ back end for the majority of the season.

“We know what we are going to get from him every night,” said Cochrane. “He’s engaged. He’s calm, but he has got a real fire in him.”

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Fans will notice some big changes to the team’s defence this season; gone is Salmon Arm’s native son, Cole Nisse.

But back as a Silverback for his fourth season is Akito Hirose.

“We added a lot key pieces up front and on the back end, so I’m expecting to be a lot faster this year and a lot bigger,” Hirose said.

The Silverbacks start their season against the West Kelowna Warriors  on Sunday, Sept. 8 at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.