Friday, November 16, 2012

Gameday: Smoke Eaters vs. Spruce Kings

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. Prince George Spruce Kings
When: November 16, 7:30 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail

The Smokies play host to a former division rival Friday with the lone visit of the Spruce Kings to Cominco Arena, with an eye on earning a season series sweep against Prince George.

After a come-from-behind overtime victory in Vernon last Friday night, Trail was undone by a defensive gaffe in the third period of Saturday’s 3-1 loss in Merritt.

The Smokies’ strength has been their play on home ice, and with three of the next four games slated for Cominco Arena, it’s an opportunity for Trail to climb back into playoff contention as the race with the Vipers and rebuilding Silverbacks continues.

Success will come from the goal-crease out. Lyndon Stanwood was outstanding last weekend, and enters tonight’s contest with a .926 save percentage in 8 appearances on home ice. The Smokies will get a boost up front in the form of forward Luke Sandler (7-6-13 in 21 games); he missed the last two contests after being assessed a two-game suspension for a checking-from-behind major.

Last Meeting: Garrett McMullen completed a comeback, scoring the overtime winner in a 4-3 Trail victory September 14th at the Coliseum. The Smokies overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit to win.

Our Opponent: The Spruce Kings have lost three straight games entering tonight’s contest, most recently a 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Victoria Grizzlies last weekend. It was Prince George’s first regulation home loss of the season. Watch for the Spruce Kings’ blueline to generate offense tonight, with both Mitch Eden and Bradley Ryan sitting in the top four in club scoring. Forwards Coltyn Hansen and Cam Lawson, acquired in the off-season trade that saw the pesky Fitzgerald triplets head to Victoria, have combined for 35 points. 20 year-old Kirk Thompson has played the lion’s share of the minutes in goal, winning 10 games thus far. His last outing against Trail was a 4-0 shutout win during pre-season play August 29th in Chase.

In the Press Box: Defenseman Braeden Jones and forward Bryce Knapp remain on the long-term injury list. Marley Keca is questionable after missing last Saturday’s game in Merritt. The Spruce Kings remain without blueliner David London, who has yet to play this season.

Broadcast Info: Watch tonight's game on FAST Hockey pay-per-view, or listen live at Smokies Ustream. The show starts at 7:20.

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