Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gameday: Smoke Eaters @ Capitals

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters @ Cowichan Valley Capitals
When: Oct. 30, 3:30 PM
Where: Island Savings Centre, Duncan

The Smokies have a chance to collect four of six weekend points when they face former head coach Jim Ingram and the Cowichan Valley Capitals this afternoon. As with last night's game in Powell River, this afternoon's contest is the only meeting of the regular season between the two sides, and also serves as a homecoming (of sorts) for Trail's Nicholas Wong and Clayton Chessa, both of whom donned Capitals silks last season.

Speaking of Chessa, he draws back into the lineup today after serving a one-game suspension in last night's overtime loss in Powell River.

Even though the Smokies were badly outshot last night against the Kings, they did well to earn a point. Trail created numerous power-play opportunities through hard work and to have success against a much-improved Capitals squad, I'd expect the coaching staff will expect the same. Erik Cooper has had a strong weekend thus far for Trail, scoring twice. The Alaskan has been much more noticeable on the ice over the past couple of weeks, mainly on a line with Chessa and Adam Boytinck.

This afternoon's game is also, strangely enough, Trail's only visit to Vancouver Island this season: we'll see the likes of Nanaimo, Victoria and Alberni Valley through December, January and February respectively. Also, interestingly enough, it's the second straight contest for Trail against a club that previously defeated the Westside Warriors, after the Caps won 5-2 last night.

Our Opponent: It's a much different Cowichan Valley squad this year than the one that missed out on the BCHL playoffs a season ago. Offensively, the Caps are led by a pair of players with Interior Conference experience, forward Devin Gannon (5-11-16) is a former Salmon Arm Silverback, while Steven Iacobellis (5-7-12) is the player Cowichan Valley landed from Penticton for former Smokie Travis St. Denis this past summer. Speaking of the Silverbacks, both defenseman Josh Monk and forward Brandon Mistal formerly plied their trade in the Shuswap as well; Monk leads the Caps defense with four goals thus far this season. Cowichan's new goaltender Brady Rouleau (who was recently picked up from AJHL Canmore) has gotten off to a fine start, allowing only one goal in his debut. Incumbent Derek Dun made 25 saves in the win over Westside last night.

Broadcast Info: Your video and audio feeds, courtesy of the Capitals broadcasting crew, are available here. I'll be back for all three weekend games next weekend beginning with a Friday night contest at home against the Vernon Vipers.

KIJHL Today: The Beaver Valley Nitehawks, fresh off a 3-2 home ice win over Nelson last night, can pad their lead atop the Neil Murdoch division this afternoon. They visit the Spokane Braves (2:00, Eagles Ice-A-Rena), a team they defeated 7-2 in Fruitvale last Sunday.

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