Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. Powell River Kings
When: September 30, 3:00 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail
The Smokies go for a third straight home win this afternoon against an unfamiliar opponent in the Powell River Kings. Hot off the heels of last night's shutout victory over the Vernon Vipers, Trail is expected to again turn to goaltender Lyndon Stanwood against a Kings team that is looking to finish a tough road swing on a positive note.
Trail scored early, and defended well in last night's victory, getting first-period goals from Luke Sandler and Scott Davidson (for Davidson, his first in the BCHL). Stanwood made 33 saves to collect his first Junior "A" shutout while Brent Baltus also scored his second goal in as many games.
The Smokies will need to continue the strong special teams play this afternoon, too. Last night's game featured 13 power plays and not only did the home side score twice with the man-advantage, they also held Vernon off the scoresheet on each of their power-play opportunities.
Smokies captain, and former King Garrett McMullen should feature on the wing again today. A new-look partnership with Jesse Knowler and Austin Adduono paid off for head coach Bill Birks, as Trail's leading goal-getter repeatedly found space down the flanks and created several opportunities for himself off the rush.
Speaking of former Kings, new defenseman Braden Pears seems to be settling into his new environment nicely. The Victoria product was acquired from Coquitlam mid-week, and has recorded an assist in each of his two games as a Smoke Eater.
Last Meeting: These two teams haven't met since October 29, 2011 in Powell River, a game the Kings won 3-2 in overtime on a winner from Daniel Schuler.
Our Opponent: The four-time defending Coastal champs are looking to get back into the win column after a rough start to their three-day, three-game swing. Powell River has been shut out in each of its last two games, Friday night in Chilliwack (3-0) and yesterday in Penticton (4-0). Forwards J.P. Villeneuve and Matt Scarth have led the way offensively thus far for the Kings with 3 goals and 6 points each, while Boston College commit Evan Richardson is only a point off the pace despite having missed 4 of Powell River's 9 games. The Kings are solid between the pipes too, with both Jonah Imoo and former Kimberley Dynamiter Braeden Ostepchuk posting goals-against averages over .900.
In The Press Box: Trail will be without forward Bryce Knapp who remains on the injured list, but clears tomorrow. Scarth, Richardson, and defenseman Jordan Paddock all missed out for Powell River in their loss last night to the Vees.
Broadcast Info: Join me for all the action from Cominco Arena on FASTHockey pay-per-view, with your regular audio stream also running on the Smokies Ustream channel. The show begins at 2:55 with puck drop set for 3:00 PM.