Who: Trail Smoke Eaters @ Merritt Centennials
When: August 31, 7:30 PM
Where: Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, Merritt
After two full days in Merritt, the Smokies return to exhibition ice tonight in the front end of a home-and-home set with the Centennials. The team arrived in the Nicola Valley immediately after Wednesday's 4-0 defeat in Chase against the Prince George Spruce Kings, practiced yesterday and took a brief morning skate today.
The Smokies will ice a young lineup tonight, with vets Garrett McMullen, Tyler Berkholtz and Matt Alexander among a long list of scratches for tonight's pre-season affair. The Smokies have had a couple of new arrivals since Wednesday's game including 16 year-old blueliner Kyle Clayton: the 6'3" rearguard had been at Spokane Chiefs camp. Goaltender Braden Krogfoss is set to join the club this afternoon as well.
Local forward Scott Davidson will get another look on Trail's top line tonight. The 17 year-old has posted an assist in two pre-season appearances but has been buzzing around the opposition goal all week.
Our Opponent: The Cents are hoping to replicate last season's success, and boast a strong offensive core perhaps headlined by returnee Regan Soquila. The 19 year-old will be helped along by off-season acquisition Derek Huisman, who skated on Chilliwack's top line last year and tallied twice in a 5-5 tie Tuesday against Langley (the Cents most recent outing was a 3-1 loss in Hope Wednesday against the Chiefs). The back end will have a lot of new faces with only three returnees; former Smoke Eater Tim Coish could draw in tonight for Merritt. Third-year Centennial Tyler Steel will surely see the bulk of the action between the pipes this season after splitting duties last year with the now-graduated Lino Chimienti.
Broadcast Info: As will be the case all season long, catch tonight's game on the Smoke Eaters Ustream channel. Join me for the pre-game at 7:25 with tonight's opening faceoff set for 7:30.