A lively, yet low-scoring intra-squad game at the Cominco Arena this afternoon served as the exclamation point on a Smokies camp that, by all accounts, got better as time went on.
Two ten-bell saves from Zach Perehudoff in the final 5:15 of the third period sealed a 2-1 Team Blue victory over Team Gold in today's matinee. The 18 year-old local product robbed Erik Cooper and Kody Disher in quick succession after allowing a laser beam from Adam Boytinck to get past him early on in the frame.
The line of Cooper, Boytinck and Chris Romanchuk generated a fair amount of offense for gold, as one would expect with two returning vets. The same can be said for Blue's top line of Clayton Chessa, Kyle Horsman and Connecticut recruit Josh Roberts, who for my money was one of, if not the fastest skater this afternoon.
Young d-men played a big role as well. Coquitlam's Daniel Del Bianco, who APed with the Smokies last year showed a lot of pace while fellow major midget recruit Brandon Egli showed no hesitation to jump into the play all day, scoring twice in a morning scrimmage to boot.
The afternoon also featured a first-period scrap between former Castlegar Rebel Dylan Richardson and former Nelson Leaf Tanner Burns.
As 20 year-old forward Logan Proulx stated earlier this week, Smokies head coach Bill Birks and the rest of his staff will have some tough decisions to make in advance of the September 23rd home opener against Westside, and in my conversation with the first-year head coach (which will be posted here once it airs on Mountain FM Monday), he says he expects to keep 3 goaltenders, 8 defenceman and 15 forwards, give or take, for next weekend's pre-season tourney against Brooks, Powell River and Wenatchee. The possibility of adding some scoring prowess in advance of the regular season also exists.