Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. Wenatchee Wild
When: Sept. 3, 1:30 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail
Trail will try to close out the pre-season tournament with a bang this afternoon against another unfamiliar opponent in the NAHL's Wenatchee Wild. The Smokies opened the tourney Thursday with a 5-0 loss to the Brooks Bandits, and were shut out again 6-0 last night by the Powell River Kings.
But at the end of the day, it's difficult to take stock in pre-season results. For instance, the Smokies dressed 13 rookies last night against the Kings, 11 of whom have never played in a BCHL regular-season game (Daniel DelBianco and Chris Derochie were called up as APs last year). As this group starts to become more familiar with each other, and the younger players on the squad gain more experience and confidence at the Junior A level, I'm sure the results will come.
Looking at today's matchup though, I'll be interested in seeing what, if any adjustments are made with regards to special teams. Trail has had good pressure at times on the power-play through the first two games but find themselves 0/15 thus far this weekend. Conversely, the Smokies have allowed 7 power-play goals through the first two games. The Kings I thought did a great job of blocking shooting lanes last night while short-handed, and although the Smokies were victimized while a man down through the first 120 minutes of the tourney there were a few players (Erik Cooper for one) whose tenacity on the PK impressed me.
Our Opponent: Admittedly I haven't gotten to see Wenatchee play either of their first two games this weekend, but from the looks of things they can definitely score. Matt Cope has a goal in each of the Wild's first two games, while Trevor Stewart added a pair in the club's 6-5 overtime loss to Powell River. Both games from the Wild have seen multiple lead changes with Wenatchee scoring two late goals yesterday afternoon to defeat Brooks 6-4. Trail fans may be familiar with Chris Kerr, who also scored last night. He's spent the past two seasons with the Quesnel Millionaires.
Broadcast Info: no audio again today (as will likely be the case from our end for all Smokies pre-season games, I will have a 45-game regular season broadcast schedule up soon). Follow either myself or the Wild on Twitter for game updates.
Out of Town: For those of you into the Junior B scene, the Beaver Valley Nitehawks tourney continues today in Fruitvale, and also involves the Border Bruins and Leafs. First game is at noon. The early game in the Trail tourney today gets underway at 10:30 between Powell River and Brooks.