Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gameday: Smoke Eaters vs. SilverBacks

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. Salmon Arm SilverBacks
When: January 19, 7:30 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail

A night after a disappointing 3-1 loss in the Shuswap, the Smokies enter tonight needing two points to keep pace with Salmon Arm in the race for the final Interior playoff spot. The SilverBacks scored three times in the second period last night, and received a 31-save performance from rookie (and surprise starter) Angus Redmond to move to 39 points, leaving Trail with 37 entering play today.

A lack of finish did the Smokies in Friday. Buoyed by the return of Brent Baltus after a nine-game absence, Trail let golden opportunities go begging, especially through the first fourty minutes. Thoughts of a third-period comeback were shut down thanks to Redmond’s first BCHL win. Despite making 32 saves of his own, including some brilliant work in the first 25 minutes, Adam Todd suffered his first loss as a Smoke Eater.

No doubt the Smokies realize the importance of tonight’s game. Win, and the two sides are level again;  lose, and Trail finds themselves four points from playoff safety with a tough Coastal road trip looming in the near future.

No doubt Baltus will be leaned upon again tonight. The 20 year-old (who has been skating for several weeks) notched an assist yesterday and looked dangerous on nearly every shift on a line with Garrett McMullen and Connor Collett.

Last Meeting: The SilverBacks’ 3-1 win last night puts them on top in the season series by three games to two. The away team has won three of the five meetings as well.

Our Opponent: The SilverBacks welcome back defenseman (and leading scorer) Shane Hanna from a two-game suspension tonight, which was assessed after a major penalty on Luke Sandler last Friday at Cominco Arena. 12-goal man Alex Gillies also returned to the lineup last night and despite being held off the scoresheet was dangerous on Salmon Arm’s top line with Brandon Mistal and Steven Iacobellis. Head coach Scott Robinson may have a tough decision tonight in goal. Does he go with the hot hand in Redmond, or turn back to #1 Adam Clark, who stopped 49 shots in Trail last Friday. The SilverBacks have killed 25 of 26 Trail power-plays in the five games between the two teams thus far, and own the BCHL’s fourth-best penalty-kill.

In the Press Box: Trail’s Bryce Knapp is out for the remainder of the season. Salmon Arm forward Riley Hunt is injured and will not play

Broadcast Info: Watch tonight's game on FAST Hockey pay-per-view, or listen live on Smokies Ustream. Pre-game coverage begins at 7:20 with the play-by-play set for 7:30.

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