Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gameday: Smoke Eaters @ Eagles

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters at Surrey Eagles
When: Oct. 21, 4:00 PM
Where: South Surrey Arena, Surrey

A quick post as we roll on toward Swartz Bay, as Trail winds down the three-game swing this afternoon against the Eagles.

Last night's 9-5 loss in Duncan was far from resplendent, and the Smokies to a man seem motivated to finish this trip on a positive note. Brent Baltus has enjoyed a fruitful weekend with three goals, and is the high goal-scorer heading into today's game with nine on the year. His line with Garrett McMullen and Scott Davidson has been dangerous on every shift.

Defensively, Trail needs to simplify things. Clearances need to be harder, assignments need to be given more scrutiny, and the Eagles can't be given nearly the amount of time with possession in the offensive zone as were the Capitals on Saturday. Trail has surrendered 6 or more goals 7 times on the road already this season, but Friday's performance in Victoria and the efforts this team has put in at home must serve as proof positive that the club can lock things down when necessary.

Last Meeting: Brandon Long's OT winner, moments after Eagles d-man Brandon Tanev hit the post, proved the deciding moment as Trail won 5-4 on January 27th in Surrey. The Smokies have won on their last 3 visits to the South Surrey Arena.

Our Opponent: The Eagles shook things up mid-week, sending captain Brandon Morley to Coquitlam for 33 goal man Brady Shaw (who is out of the lineup tonight on a college visit to the US). That move paid immediate dividends as Shaw scored twice Friday, helping Surrey overcome a 4-1 deficit to nip Vernon 5-4. Surrey is a quick, puck-moving team that uses the big ice in their home rink to their advantage, but have had an inconsistent start, sitting in 5th in the iron-tight Mainland Division.

In the Press Box: Trail's Jesse Knowler and Braeden Jones are out. AP defenseman Chandler Bruyckere (VIJHL Oceanside) is on the trip and will play his second BCHL game today.

Broadcast Info: Watch today's game on FASTHockey, or listen live on Smokies Ustream. Vancouver-area listeners can also tune in to TEAM 1040. My show gets underway at 3:55.

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