Friday, November 23, 2012

Gameday: Smoke Eaters vs. SilverBacks

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. Salmon Arm SilverBacks
When: November 23, 7:30 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail

The Smokies look to continue recent home form as a pivotal home-and-home with the SilverBacks kicks off tonight in Trail. The Smoke Eaters have won four of the last five home games, most recently an emphatic 5-2 win over the Penticton Vees last Saturday, and enter tonight’s game on the heels of a wild third-period comeback that saw Trail turn a 7-2 blowout into a 7-6 nailbiter in Penticton.

Brent Baltus, fresh off committing to Alaska-Anchorage earlier in the week, comes into tonight’s game fourth in BCHL scoring (29 points), having collected points in 11 of his last 12 outings. The 20 year-old is the second Smokie to commit to college this season after Scott Davidson signed with Quinnipiac in September.

Tonight also marks the first matchup for new Trail defenseman Bennett Hambrook against his former club. The Kimberley product started the season as SilverBacks captain, and put up two assists in his return to the Smokies Wednesday (he played 2 games as a 17 year-old AP while a member of the KIJHL’s Nelson Leafs in 2009-10). New D partner Valik Chichkin has scored in three of Trail’s last four games, including the OT winner in Trail’s 8-7 over Prince George a week ago.

Last Meeting: The Smokies rode a three-point effort from Baltus en route to a 5-2 win in Salmon Arm on October 27th.  Trail leads the season series 1-0.

Our Opponent: The SilverBacks are starting to round into form after a tough start to the season, and have a slough of new faces in the lineup tonight after a series of trades. Smooth-skating defenseman Shane Hanna is top dog in Salmon Arm scoring with 20 points, but is being chased down by reigning BCHL Player of the Week Brandon Mistal, who fired home six goals in three games last week and now has 10 this season. New Hampshire commit Adam Clark is the de-facto number one netminder after the departure of 20 year-old Colin Dzijacky (who was the goaltender of record in the last meeting) earlier this month. A win tonight would bring Salmon Arm to within 1 point of the Smokies in the ever-tight Interior division.

In the Press Box: Defenseman Braeden Jones and forward Bryce Knapp remain on the long-term injury list. Salmon Arm are without 17 year-old forward Riley Hunt, who has appeared in only 4 games since an early-season trade from Vernon.

Broadcast Info: Watch tonight's game on FASTHockey pay-per-view, or listen live at Smokies Ustream. Pre-game show begins at 7:20 with all the action set for 7:30.

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