Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gameday: Smoke Eaters @ Vees

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters at Penticton Vees
When: Oct. 1, 7:00 PM
Where: South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton

A quick line before I jump in the car for the trip to Penticton.

The Smokies are flying high after taking 3 of 4 points from a home-and-home series with Merritt. And why not! Trail found themselves down 3-0 midway through last night's contest at the Nicola Valley Arena before storming back to win 5-3. Clayton Chessa scored the game-winner as part of a two-goal effort (he now has 4 goals in as many games as a Smoke Eater), while Adam Boytinck, Brent Baltus and Nicholas Wong added singles.

No question tonight will be a real test for Trail. Penticton's list of recruits is enviable, and they only add to what was already a strong core. A good showing tonight from Trail would do wonders for the confidence of a young squad continuing to find their way in the BCHL.

Our Opponent: These Vees need no introduction, and if last night was any indication, they can score in bunches. Ryan Reilly leads the way with 2-3-5 through Penticton's first three games, followed by a familiar face to Trail fans, former Smokies forward Travis St. Denis. The 19 year-old known as "Saint" tallied twice and added an assist in the Vees' 9-2 victory over Prince George a night ago, and has scored 3 times in as many games with Penticton since arriving in the South Okanagan over the summer. As if Penticton's offence didn't look scary enough, consider their starting goaltender, Mike Garteig, led Powell River to the league finals last season, all while putting up an unreal 1.69 GAA and posting 7 shutouts.

In the Press Box: The Smokies will again be without forwards Adam Wheeldon and Kyle Horsman, while d-man Daniel DelBianco missed his second consecutive game last night in Merritt. AP callups Alex Demchuk and Tom Kempinski made their Trail debuts yesterday after joining the club from the KIJHL's Princeton Posse. For Penticton, captain Logan Johnston will be out while serving game 4 of his much-talked-about 25-game suspension, while d-man Nick Amies is out indefinitely.

Broadcast Info: Catch tonight's broadcast on the new Smokies Ustream channel beginning at 6:55 PM. It's the maiden voyage for myself away from the Cominco Arena, so fingers crossed for as few hiccups as possible. As always, I'd love to hear thoughts on what to add to the broadcast as the season goes on. Vees play-by-play man Fraser Rodgers will have your webcast (and home audio) feed on BCHL live.

KIJHL Tonight: A night that will bring back memories tonight in Castlegar, as the Rebels host the Osoyoos Coyotes (7:30 PM, Complex). It's the first meeting since last year's KIJHL final, and I know the returnees on this year's Rebels squad have had tonight's matchup circled on the calendar since the 2011-12 schedule was released. Nelson continues their rather unorthodox weekend of three home games in 2 1/2 days with a fixture against Creston Valley tonight (7:00, NDCC). Grand Forks return home to face the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.

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