Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. Salmon Arm SilverBacks
When: January 11, 7:30 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail
A quiet trade deadline has passed without any activity, and after a dramatic victory Wednesday night the Smoke Eaters go marching into tonight’s fixture with a chance to reclaim a playoff berth. Trail and Salmon Arm meet for the fourth time this season with the away team having won 2 of 3 of the previous games.
Castlegar Rebels forward Diego Bartlett played hero for Trail Wednesday, scoring both the game-tying and game-winning goals in a 5-4 victory at Vernon; the Smokies were down 4-1 after two periods before Jesse Knowler scored two goals in 20 seconds early in the third period.
Adam Todd made his first appearance in goal since November 21st, making 29 saves to move to 4-0 as a Smoke Eater. Knowler’s performance was all the more important given the fact Trail’s two leading scorers were out of the lineup Wednesday, and the Smokies deserve full credit for finding their third-period form after a pair of rough finishes to start 2013.
Shane Poulsen also made his return to the lineup after missing 11 games. He was initially hurt during the last meeting between the Smokies and SilverBacks; no doubt the Kamloops product (who before his injury led Trail in defensive scoring) will be searching for retribution tonight).
Last Meeting: The SilverBacks swept a late November home-and-home and lead the season series 2-1. Three of Trail’s next four games are against Salmon Arm, who are two points ahead of the Smokies in the Interior’s fourth seed.
Our Opponent: After a disastrous start, the SilverBacks have found their feet and continue to climb up the Interior division ladder, but are coming off a third-period collapse at home against the Capitals last Saturday night. Salmon Arm has scored the fewest goals in the Interior division with 89 and are led in scoring by defenseman Shane Hanna (8-25-33), though midseason pickup Steven Iacobellis has 18 points in 15 SilverBack appearances. New Hampshire commit Adam Clark has settled into the number-one role in his second season in the Shuswap, posting a 2.40 GAA. He shut out the Smokies on November 23rd in Salmon Arm’s last visit to Trail.
In the Press Box: The Smoke Eaters have been without Garrett McMullen and Bryce Knapp for the last two games; they both are questionable as is forward Brent Baltus. Salmon Arm forward Riley Hunt is out, new acquisition Spencer Loverock is as well.
Broadcast Info: Tonight's game will be available on FAST Hockey pay-per-view, or choose to listen live at Smokies Ustream. Our pregame coverage begins at 7:20 with the opening faceoff set for 7:30.