Friday, September 21, 2012

Gameday: Smoke Eaters vs. Warriors

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. West Kelowna Warriors
When: September 21, 7:30 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail

It feels like its taken forever to arrive, but the home opener is finally here as Trail gets set to tangle with the new-look West Kelowna Warriors tonight at Cominco Arena. Unlike in years past, the Smokies' early schedule has been heavy on travel with each of the first four games coming away from home. Trail and West Kelowna are set to become well-acquainted, too, with tonight's game marking the first of four meetings between tonight and October 5th.

Smokies fans should get their first look at newcomers Jesse Knowler and Luke Sandler tonight after both were picked up in separate acquisitions mid-week. Former Okotoks Oiler Connor Collett should also make his home debut after posting an assist over his first two games as a Smoke Eater last weekend. Captain Garrett McMullen is off to a great start up front with four goals in four games; McMullen had the overtime winner last Friday in Trail's first victory of the season, 4-3 over Prince George.

Locals Jake Lucchini, Scott Davidson and Mitch Foyle will all play in front of their hometown fans for the first time tonight. Davidson tallied a pair of assists through the first four games and earned a scholarship to Quinnipiac University before the start of the season.

Last Meeting: The Warriors won 5 of the 7 meetings between the two teams last season, most recently a 5-4 decision in West Kelowna on February 25th. Graduated Smoke Eater Erik Cooper scored twice for Trail in a game that saw the Smokies dress only 13 skaters because of injuries.

Our Opponent: The Warriors haven't played since last Friday's overtime loss to the Penticton Vees, but despite the layoff remain one of the form teams in the BCHL. West Kelowna started the year with a bang, posting 6-0 and 6-1 wins at the BCHL Showcase. Captain Max French is on fire, having scored 5 goals in the Warriors' first three games. New goaltender Tyler Briggs, an off-season acquisition from the AJHL, has been rock-solid between the pipes as well. The 20 year-old has posted a 1.59 goals-against average and stingy .949 save percentage through his first three appearances in BC.

In the Press Box: The Smokies remain without the services of forward Bryce Knapp for about another week. The Fort Frances, Ontario product has resumed practicing with the team. West Kelowna does not have any listed injuries.

Broadcast Info: For out-of-town fans, tonight's game will be available on FastHockey and Smokies Ustream beginning at 7:25. As was the case last week in Prince George and Merritt, the opening faceoff will be delayed by between five and ten minutes for player introductions.

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