Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gameday: Smoke Eaters vs. Clippers

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. Nanaimo Clippers
When: December 16, 3:00 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail

A day after another comeback attempt fell just short, the Smokies go back to work against a Nanaimo squad that goes in search of its first win on a three-game weekend away swing. Trail dug a 4-goal hole by the 7-minute mark of last night’s second period, and came perilously close to forcing overtime against Vernon. Tyler Berkholtz, Mitch Foyle and Luke Sandler scored for the Smokies, who outshot the Vipers 35-21.

Today’s game with Nanaimo is Trail’s seventh contest of the month of December, with the Smokies having scored the first goal only once. Last night’s loss could, and should serve as a lesson that the ability to score goals exists despite the absence of Nanaimo product Brent Baltus, who remains out of the lineup this afternoon.

Lyndon Stanwood, who made 17 saves in last night’s 4-3 loss, is expected to make way to Castlegar Rebels goaltender Jordan Gluck between the pipes. The 20 year-old from Scarsdale, NY has posted a 10-4 record with two shutouts in the KIJHL this season, but has yet to test his mettle at the BCHL level.

Last Meeting: Today marks the first meeting between these teams since a 5-0 Nanaimo win in Trail on December 17th, 2011.

Our Opponent: Nanaimo head coach/general manager Mike Vandekamp has built a veteran-laden squad as part of the run to the inaugural Western Canada Cup, which the Clippers are hosting this upcoming spring. The roster remains three players short of the 22-man maximum, meaning more additions could be on the way after the holiday break. Former Prince George Cougar Greg Fraser and 18 year-old import Michael McNicholas are co-scoring leaders with 31 points, with fourth-year Clipper Kyle Kramer leading the club in goals with 16. Nanaimo lost games in Chilliwack (3-0 ) Friday and Penticton (5-2) Saturday despite outshooting their opponents in both contests. Goaltender Jayson Argue, acquired from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League over the summer, has carried the load in the net for the Clippers (12-13, 3.24, .899).  The Clippers are 3-7 in their last ten games, only Cowichan Valley and Langley have worse records over that stretch.

In the Press Box: Defensemen Braeden Jones and Shane Poulsen, forwards Baltus, Jesse Knowler and goaltender Adam Todd remain out for Trail. The Clippers are without backup goaltender (and former Kootenay Ice major midget) Jarrod Schamerhorn.

Broadcast Info: Watch today's game on FAST Hockey pay-per-view, or listen live at Smokies Ustream. Pre-game coverage begins at 2:50 with the play-by-play set for 3:00.

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