Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gameday: Smoke Eaters vs. Warriors

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. Westside Warriors
When: Nov. 26, 7:30 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail

A quick write-up before I jump in the car and head back to the West Kootenay from Kelowna.

The Smokies get another crack at Westside tonight after three third-period goals paced the Warriors to victory in West Kelowna last night.

A frustrating night to be sure from a resilient, and short-handed Smoke Eater squad that defended well, made hits, but had trouble testing Warriors goaltender Dwayne Rodrigue thanks to plenty of blocked shots and good positional defense from the home side.

To win tonight, the Smokies need to force the issue offensively. Trail did an admirable job getting to pucks and starting a cycle in the offensive zone, but from my recollection of last night's game I can't think of many shots that Rodrigue didn't see all, or most of the way in. At the other end, new goaltender Lyndon Stanwood looked impressive, making key saves through the first two periods before a pair of well-placed shots by Reid Simmonds and Richard Vanderhoek broke the game open early in the third.

Don't forget Smokies fans, tickets for tonight's game are just $5, with a host of prizes up for grabs tonight as part of the BCHL's fiftieth anniversary celebration.

Last Meeting: Last night's 4-1 win victory for the Warriors gives them a 3-1 edge in the seven-game season series. Clayton Chessa scored the lone Trail goal.

Our Opponent: Westside is still a bit banged up, with four players out of the lineup (see below). But this team is gritty, despite being maybe a bit undersized up front. The likes of Shawn Hochhausen, Brett McKinnon and Connor Dempsey showed plenty of pace up front last night, and the Warriors warhorses on the blue line, Izaak Berglund and Peter MacIntosh, again logged plenty of minutes on the back end last night. Dwayne Rodrigue looks like a real keeper, pardon the pun.

In the Press Box: Trail is again without forwards Adam Fares and Josh Roberts as well as defenseman Brandon Egli, while the Warriors missed defenseman Josh Monk, alongside forwards Max French, Brennan Clark and Seb Lloyd last night.

Broadcast Info: I'll have tonight's pay-per-view call beginning at 7:30. For those of a Warrior persuasion, Jon Zacks has you covered. Both broadcasts can be accessed here.

Local Hockey Tonight: Aside from one KIJHL team, it should read "Local Hockey (Away) Tonight." The Nelson Leafs wrap up a home and home with Spokane after a wild 8-6 win in Washington state last night (7:00, NDCC). Castlegar faces old friend Alex Ross and the Summerland Steam here in the Okanagan, while Beaver Valley and Grand Forks (who won their first game of the season last night) continue their East Kootenay swings. The Nitehawks are at Columbia Valley, while the Border Bruins visit Fernie. Selkirk College hits the road tonight for a one-off at Kelowna against Okanagan College, while the major midget Kootenay Ice are in Langley to face the Valley West Hawks.

Trade Winds: Grand Forks have traded their captain, Jacob Bergeron to the Golden Rockets Thursday for cash and a player to be named later. Bergeron scored 17 points with the Border Bruins, but was held off the scoresheet in his Rockets debut last night, a 7-2 loss against Beaver Valley.

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