The Trail Smoke Eaters make a trip to Vancouver Island this weekend for a three-games in three-days Odyssey that ends with a match against the Victoria Grizzlies on Sunday.

Trail Smoke Eaters embark on Island road trip

Trail Smoke Eaters look to earn some breathing room in the Interior division when they hit the road to Vancouver Island this weekend.

The Trail Smoke Eaters will look to duplicate their first Island-trip success as they embark on a three-game set against Powell River, Port Alberni, and Victoria this weekend.

Since riding the ferry to Vancouver Island on Oct. 7, where Trail won its three games against Nanaimo and Cowichan, then Langley, the Smoke Eaters have gone 10-4 and climbed into second place in the BCHL’s Interior Division.

“We’ve been playing a lot of hockey lately, and we’re happy with where we’re at roster-wise right now,” said Smoke Eaters assistant coach Curtis Toneff. “Powell River, Victoria, and Alberni is due to clawback and have some good games here, so it’s going to be a good test for our group.”

Trail lost their first game to the Powell River Kings 5-2 on Sept. 24 at the BCHL Showcase, yet both teams have made significant strides since then. The Kings sit in second place in the Island Division with a 16-8-1-0 record and have gone 8-2 in their last 10, which includes a seven-game winning streak.

“We’re going to start with that game in Powell River, we think that will be the biggest test for us,” said Toneff. “But three-in-three, it’s a long grind, and we’ll see what we’re made of.”

The Kings are led by Cornell University commits Cam Donaldson with 16 goals and 32 points and Tristan Mullin, 13-16-29, and Delta product Jonny Evans 14-17-31. Offensively, the Kings are a powerhouse averaging four goals per game, second only to Wenatchee in the BCHL, with seven players on the roster with more than 19 points. Defensively, the Kings are solid with former Vernon Viper Callum Volpe, 3-14-17, six-foot-four, 200-pound Ian Ross and six-three, Andy Stevens anchoring the blue line.

The Smoke Eaters stack up well against the Kings offensively and defensively, and have a decided edge on special teams. Trail currently holds the third best power play in the BCHL with 27.3 per cent and the fourth-best penalty kill, 81.3 per cent.

On Saturday, Trail takes on Alberni Valley Bulldogs for the first time this season, a team that has struggled to a 6-14-3-0 record. The Bulldogs lack punch up front scoring just 48 goals in 23 games, likely due to the fact their highest point-getter is rookie defenceman Trevor Cosgrove with three goals and 17 points.

Former Beaver Valley Nitehawk goalie Carson Schamerhorn backstops the Bulldogs with a 3-7 record, a 3.71 goals against average, and a .900 save percentage. Still, with assistant coach Alex Evin from Castlegar behind the bench, Alberni is capable of an upset as they showed last week when they beat the Nanaimo Clippers 4-3 in overtime and the Merritt Centennials 3-1.

Trail wraps up its three-games-in-three-days Odyssey when the Smokies take on the 14-4-2-3 Victoria Grizzlies, the top team in the Island Division, on Sunday. The Smoke Eaters are 2-0 against the Grizzlies this season, defeating them 5-4 at the Showcase and 4-3 at home on Oct. 30.

The Grizzlies greatest strength is its backend, boasting the third lowest goals allowed, 59, in the league, and one of the best goalies in the BCHL in Matthew Galajda with a 2.32 goals against and .920 save percentage, not to mention a lightning fast top-line in Cole Pickup, Tyler Welsh, and Keyvan Mokhtari.

The road trip will be an opportunity for the Smoke Eaters to pick up points in a tight Interior Division where a mere six points separate second and sixth place.

“If you win a couple in a row or lose a couple in a row it can really change where you’re at especially in our division, and especially around the league it seems to be this year,” said Toneff. “But we just have to keep getting better and keep moving forward. Last year we saw at Christmas break we were looking pretty good and the wheels fell off, so it’s taking it game by game and practicing hard, not getting too high, and not getting too low.”

Trail faces off against Powell River tonight at 7 p.m. at Hap Parker Arena.

Smoke Signals: Ross Armour missed three games last week and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The Rossland native has been held off the scoreboard just four times this season.





Just Posted

Trail police release image of liquor store robber

The video surveillance image shows the robber aiming a black gun at the store’s clerk

More snow called for the Kootenays

Environment Canada issued the bulletin Tuesday under its “BC Traveller’s Routes forecast”

Castlegar daycare selected for univeral child care pilot program

MLA Katrine Conroy presents letter of acceptance to the program to the Children’s Centre at Selkirk College

Kootenay employers ready to meet job seekers at Black Press career fair

Dozens of companies will attend the event on Nov. 15 at the Ktunaxa Nation Building in Cranbrook

Sandblasting Silver City skate sign

The Trail Sk8 Park was closed on Thursday so workers could ready a sign for painting

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Vancouver man must pay $22,000 after breaking strata rules

Peter Gordon took his fight over his rented condo to the civil resolution tribunal, but lost

Most Read