Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gameday: Smoke Eaters vs. SilverBacks

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. Salmon Arm SilverBacks
When: February 5, 7:30 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail

The Smokies face a must-win situation on home-ice tonight against a surging SilverBacks squad. Trail plays for the first time in nine days, and what was a two-point gap between the Smoke Eaters and SilverBacks has now grown to six thanks to a pair of Salmon Arm victories this past weekend.

The Smokies have not played since a thrilling 4-3 win in Langley January 27th that saw Lyndon Stanwood earn his 14th victory of the season in his first start since January 12th. The 19 year-old stopped 45 shots including a penalty-shot save on BCHL scoring leader Mario Puskarich late in the third period. Jesse Knowler had a goal and an assist while Braden Pears chipped in with his third game-winning goal of the season.

Trail’s Scott Davidson takes a four-game goal-scoring streak into tonight’s game as well, a streak that began during Salmon Arm's last visit to the Cominco Arena January 19th.

Tonight marks a great chance for the Smokies to rekindle their early-season home form. After shooting out of the gates with 6 wins in their first 8 games at Cominco Arena, Trail has won only twice in its last seven home outings, and host Salmon Arm for the third time in 2013 tonight.

Last Meeting: The SilverBacks’ Alex Gillies scored the tying goal late in the third, then broke Smoke Eater hearts in overtime lifting Salmon Arm to a 4-3 win January 19th. The SilverBacks have won 4 of the six meetings this season.

Our Opponent: Wins over Chilliwack and Vernon at the weekend have put Salmon Arm in a much more comfortable position than a week ago. The SilverBacks don’t score a ton of goals (only Vernon and Cowichan Valley have fewer goals for than Salmon Arm’s 113), but have received sensational goaltending on a nightly basis from the tandem of Adam Clark and Angus Redmond. It was the rookie Redmond, remember, who stoned the Smokies in the home-and-home set January 18th and 19th. Fellow Michigan Tech recruits Shane Hanna (40 points) and Gillies (34) are top dogs offensively; Hanna is the only defenseman in the BCHL to currently lead his team in scoring and tied with Penticton’s Troy Stecher for top defensive scorer in the league.

In the Press Box: Trail’s Bryce Knapp is out for the remainder of the season, as is SilverBacks forward Riley Hunt.

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

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