Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gameday: Smoke Eaters @ Chiefs

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters @ Chilliwack Chiefs
When: Mar. 11, 5:00 PM
Where: Prospera Centre, Chilliwack

The long season comes to a close tonight in the Fraser Valley, as Trail faces the team against whom they collected their last victory. The Smokies defeated the Chiefs February 4th in Trail on the strength of James D'Andrea's first career BCHL victory.

Tonight's game marks a different occasion, as the Smoke Eaters will try to end a frustrating season against a Chilliwack club against whom they've matched up quite well. Aside from a pair of three goal defeats in December, every game with Chilliwack has been close though the Smokies have come away with only one win in the season series.

Tonight also marks the final junior game for a pair of Smoke Eaters. Erik Cooper and Clayton McEwan have been strong leaders for a group finding their feet in the BCHL this season, and no doubt there will be plenty of motivation to find a 'W' for the two graduating Smokies in Chilliwack tonight.

Last Meeting: Connor Tiechko registered a hat-trick against his hometown team at Cominco Arena, D'Andrea made 38 saves and the Smokies collected a 5-3 win February 4th. Trail holds a 1-5-0-1 record in the season series, with a 0-2-0-1 record at Prospera Centre in 2011-12.

Our Opponent: The Chiefs come into tonight's game knowing it will have no bearing on their final position in the Interior Conference standings. That said, this club will want their confidence to be sky-high ahead of a first-round playoff matchup against the Vees that gets underway Friday in Penticton. Chilliwack defeated Westside 5-2 last night on home ice thanks in part to a hat-trick from Malcolm Gould, who has been a Smokie-killer this season. His line with Derek Huisman and David Bondra has done the bulk of the damage across the seven-game season set thus far. The Chiefs are also expecting a large crowd on their fan appreciation night at Prospera Centre, but a quick start from Trail could do well to neutralize any advantage that might give the home side.

In the Press Box: No changes from Friday or Saturday for Trail: Marley Keca, Luke Bertolucci, Adam Fares and Brandon Long remain out, with APs Dane Birks, Mitch Foyle, Tre Potskin and Colton Schell in the lineup in their place. Chilliwack did not have faceoff specialist Kody Dhaliwal in the lineup for last night's win over Westside.

Broadcast Info: Join me for the final time this season on Ustream, pregame at 4:55 with the opening faceoff set for 5:00. Marc Fitzgerald has your PPV call, available here.

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