Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gameday: Smoke Eaters vs. Vees

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. Penticton Vees
When: Nov. 20, 3:00 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail

The Smokies and Vees wrap up a 9-day stretch that sees them play each other 3 times this afternoon, with Trail coming into today's game searching for their second win at home against Penticton this season.

The Vees posted a comprehensive 9-3 decision at home over Trail on Wednesday night. Local product Travis St. Denis put home a goal and four assists in his return to the BCHL after time away at the World Junior "A" Challenge in Langley. Minnesota Wild pick Mario Lucia scored a second-period natural hat-trick.

Trail will have to deal with another thorny forward tonight in the form of Bryce Gervais. The former Silverback scored twice and was named first star in Penticton's win over Merritt last night. The Saskatchewan product scored 4 times in the last meeting between Trail and Salmon Arm on November 9th.

The short-handed Smokies continue to face tough tests recently against the Interior Conference, but have showed well at home including a 2-1 overtime loss to Vernon last Saturday that could well have gone the other way. The keyword for the Smoke Eaters: consistency. If this team can continue to work hard, with consistent efforts from all 20 players on the roster, they can give every team in the league a run for their money, especially in the unique confines of the Cominco Arena.

Last Meeting: Penticton posted their third win of the season series on Wednesday, a 9-3 decision at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Our Opponent: The Vees are stacked, no question. In addition to the likes of St. Denis, Lucia, and Gervais, Penticton's Connor Reilly and Joey Benik both sit within the top twelve in BCHL scoring. Troy Stecher and Mike Reilly are quick, mobile defensemen who can provide significant offensive punch as well. Chad Katunar has started 3 of the 4 games against Trail this season, but was not the goaltender of record in the Smokies' 4-3 home victory on October 19th despite allowing three of the four Trail goals.

In the Press Box: Trail is without forwards Kyle Horsman, Josh Roberts, Adam Fares, and defenseman Brandon Egli. Fellow blueliner Tim Coish did not play Wednesday. The Vees are minus captain Logan Johnston, whose suspension is almost complete, and rearguard Nick Amies.

Broadcast Info: Join me for the webcast or free audio this afternoon here beginning at 3:00. Fraser Rodgers has Penticton's call on EZ Rock Penticton.

Local Hockey Today: Three KIJHL games involving all four local teams on the slate today. Castlegar hosts the Penticton Lakers (2:00, Complex), while Nelson and Beaver Valley tangle in Fruitvale (6:00, Beaver Valley Arena). Grand Forks is at Spokane.

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