When: Jan. 27, 7:00 PM
Where: South Surrey Arena, Surrey
A rare matchup tonight in Surrey as the Smokies close out January with a three-game coastal swing. Trail loaded the bus at just before 7:00 this morning and are en route to the South Surrey Arena as I write this.
The Smokies should be feeling pretty chipper about things of late; the team has posted a 3-3-0-1 record through the month of January, proving that "Mission 500" is well within reach.
It's also a return to Surrey for a pair of Smoke Eaters. Hometown boy Tim Coish played with the Eagles last season, while overage forward, and reigning BCHL Player of the Week Erik Cooper spent parts of two seasons with the Eagles before being part of the deal that sent Trail's Steve Koshey to the coast. Speaking of Koshey, it's his one and only shot at his hometown team during his 20 year-old season, no doubt the Eagles' third-leading scorer will be raring to go this evening.
I spoke with Cooper on Wednesday about the matchup and his weekly honour, listen to that interview here.
Last Meeting: Way back on December 3rd, 2010. The Smokies stormed out to a 3-0 first-period lead at home only to have Richard Vanderhoek and Dale Hunt score two goals each in a 4-3 Eagles win. Trail's record against the Coastal Conference this season stands at 1-3-0-2.
Our Opponent: The Eagles are soaring in the Coastal standings and with a win tonight could climb into a first-place tie with Powell River (who are idle tonight). Only Penticton has fewer regulation-time losses this season than Surrey, who boast the third-best home record in the BCHL. Alaska-Fairbanks commit Tyler Morley leads the way offensively for Surrey (20-24-44), while former Smokie Koshey leads all d-men with 28 points. The Eagles have 7 committed players on their roster including Alex Hagen, who has performed well against Trail this year during his time with the Vernon Vipers. Andrew Hunt has gotten the lion's share of work in goal, boasting a 2.67 GAA that stands fifth in the BCHL. Only Powell River (13) has scored more short-handed goals than the Eagles, who have 12 (led by T. Morley with 4).
Broadcast Info: Join me for the away audio feed beginning at 6:55, click here to listen. Eagles play-caller Colin Tiggelaar has your pay-per-view feed tonight beginning at 7:00 here.
Local Hockey Tonight: All four local KIJHL teams are in action tonight with two on home ice. The Castlegar Rebels begin a home-and-home set in Nelson against the Leafs (7:00, NDCC), while further south Spokane hosts Beaver Valley (8:00, Eagles Ice-A-Rena). Grand Forks, fresh off a 6-2 setback to the Braves last night, host the Kelowna Chiefs (7:30, GF Arena).