Smokies face off against the Cents

The Trail Smoke Eaters will look to keep the Merritt Centennial in the winless column when they face their rival this weekend.

Trail Smoke Eater

The Trail Smoke Eaters will look to keep the Merritt Centennial in the winless column when they face their Interior Division rival in a home-and-home series this weekend.

While the Cents have yet to win a game, they haven’t lost either, playing to a 2-2 tie with the Prince George Spruce Kings in their only game of the week last Friday. Tonight the Smoke Eaters travel to Merritt to face a veteran Cents team that went unbeaten, 4-0-1, in the pre-season by virtue of a strong returning contingent.

But the Smokies are coming off a high, after winning their home opener against RBC Cup champion West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday, 8-5, following a 3-1 loss in West Kelowna on Friday.

“We want to play just like we did in West Kelowna, keep things really simple, keep things close and hopefully we get a few more bounces ours way, and keep getting strong goaltending,” said Smoke Eater head coach and GM Cam Keith.

An unlikely sniper in defenceman Tyson Slater leads the Smokies in scoring netting three goals in his first two games. The Courtney native took two years off hockey before returning last season to play for the Jr. B Comox Valley Glacier Kings of the VIJHL.

“Tyson Slater keeps on surprising us,” said Keith. “His talent is there, his ceiling is very high, and we’re very excited, not only offensively but in the d-zone as well. He plays a physical brand of hockey and just gets stronger and stronger.”

The Smoke Eaters had a tough decision to make leading up to the opening game Friday and released Cole Williams and local defencman Jake Yuris to bring the numbers down to league requirements for carded players.

“It’s not easy, when we got down to 25-26 (players) we had a lot of hard choices,” said Keith.

But the Smokies looked bigger and faster on the ice on Saturday, with new additions like Luke Santerno, Josh Laframboise, Andre Ghantous, goalie Zach Dyment, and Jack Sitzman impressive in their play. Combined with the excellent play of returning players like Kale Howarth, Spencer McLean, Connor Brown-Maloski, and Ross Armour, the Smoke Eaters fans will likely have a lot more to cheer about this season.

“As long as our confidence gets there, I think these guys are starting to believe that they can win,” added Keith. “It’s hard for some of these kids, mostly those that have played in Trail for a few years, they’re a little bit deflated, you could see it last night when they scored the second goal it’s like the air got let out of their tires. I’m trying to change our culture that if you believe, anything is possible.”

The Smoke Eaters host the Centennials on Saturday at the Cominco Arena at 7 p.m.

Just Posted

Trail Smoke Eaters grind out win over Vernon Vipers

Trail Smoke Eaters Kent Johnson scored the game winner in a 3-2 victory over the Vernon Vipers

Tea, crafts, music and dance this weekend in Greater Trail

Grapevine: Events in the Trail area for the week of Nov. 15 to Nov. 21

Car accident prompts advisory from Greater Trail RCMP

Extrication by regional firefighters; driver and passenger walked away with minor injuries

Trail mayor announces task force to address crime

Coun. Sandy Santori was appointed to the Community Safety Task Force

Castlegar’s Waterline property purchased; owners to protect it for rock climbers

New owners plan to subdivide, sell bluffs to recreational climbing group

Extreme Education and Career Fair helps give back to the community

It’s estimated that there will be one million job vacancies in the next nine years in B.C.

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Harsh storms have nearly tripled power outages in last five years, BC Hydro says

More frequent and severe storms have damaged Hydro’s electrical systems since 2013

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Most Read