Friday, October 28, 2011

Gameday: Smoke Eaters @ Chiefs

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters @ Chilliwack Chiefs
When: Oct. 28, 7:00 PM
Where: Prospera Centre, Chilliwack

Three games in three days, plus a case-lot of travel miles begins tonight in Chilliwack as the Smokies face the Chiefs for the first time since their resurrection. Trail took yesterday as a travel day and arrived in the Fraser Valley yesterday evening in a move that allows the squad to get a solid night's rest in advance of a busy weekend.

According to my conversation with head coach Bill Birks from earlier this week (listen here), new goaltender James D'Andrea is expected to make his Trail debut tonight at Prospera Centre. The Calgary product is a feisty competitor who tells me his willingness to battle for every puck is one of his most redeeming qualities on the ice. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see both goaltenders get action given the busy weekend schedule, though.

Our Opponent: Chilliwack, formerly the Quesnel Millionaires, are on a bit of a slide entering tonight's game. The Chiefs have lost five straight games, picking up no points on a three-game swing to the Island last weekend. The Chiefs already have home victories over Vernon and Penticton to their credit, though. Malcolm Gould is Chilliwack's offensive leader to this point (3-9-12), while David Bondra (whose father Peter put up more than 500 goals during his NHL career) is close behind with 11 points (3-8). Ontario import Mitch Gillam has posted a stingy 2.47 GAA and .930 save percentage in his six appearances this season.

In The Press Box: Kyle Horsman is the only certain absence for Trail. Chilliwack has no listed injuries.

Broadcast Info: Chilliwack's 89.5 the Hawk will have the home audio and webcast options, and Team 1040 in Vancouver will be carrying tonight's game as part of their BCHL package.

Local Hockey Tonight: Only two KIJHL squads in action this evening, both on the road. Castlegar visits the Columbia Valley Rockies (6:30 Pacific, Eddie Mountain Arena) in the second of their three-game East Kootenay swing. Forward Scott Morisseau made his season debut last night with 2 points (1-1) in a 4-3 overtime loss at Kimberley. Nelson plays the first of six straight games away from home at Creston Valley (7:30 PM, John Bucyk Arena). The Selkirk College Saints are on the road as well, visiting Trinity Western University in Langley.

Bits & Bites: Some recent trades/transfers involving players with local connections. Former Smokies defenseman Travis Gawryletz has left the ECHL Ontario Reign to join HC Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. Former Castlegar Rebels forward Adam Smith had his WHL rights traded from Portland to Swift Current this week. Broncos play-by-play man (and former Smokies broadcaster) Shawn Mullin tells me Smith is expected in Saskatchewan this weekend. In the KIJHL, Grand Forks swung a deal with the Chase Heat yesterday, sending forward Cole Fletcher north for defenseman Jordan Brucks. Congrats to Trail's Travis St. Denis and Castlegar's Aaron Hadley on being named to the selection camp roster for Team Canada West at the upcoming World Junior 'A' Challenge being held in Langley next month.

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