Uninspiring effort in Smokies loss to Warriors

Three games into the BCHL season and the Trail Smoke Eaters are at a crossroads

Three games into the BCHL season and the Trail Smoke Eaters are at a crossroads after an 8-3 drubbing at the hands of the West Kelowna Warriors in Kelowna on Tuesday.

“It was worse case scenario,” said Coach and GM Nick Deschenes. “We don’t have any identity right now, from top to bottom. Our top guys aren’t playing the right way, aren’t buying into our system, and bottom guys don’t have any direction and are reverting to habits they had before they came.”

The Warriors had five-point nights  from Garrett Forster and last year’s scoring champion, Liam Blackburn, as they jumped out to 2-1 and 5-1 leads in the first and second period before icing it in the third.

It was a different Smoke Eaters team than the one that racked up nine goals in a win over Kelowna in the pre-season, the compete and intensity levels were nonexistent, says Deschenes.

“One of the things that got me excited about coaching in junior A and for the Trail Smoke Eaters, was that the motivation factor was pretty clear. They (the players) have NCAA scholarships dangled in front of their noses in upwards of a $300,000 value that sets you up for life, and if that doesn’t get you excited to come to the rink to work hard, (what does?) . . . I really question if the majority of this team really wants to be here and play junior A hockey.”

Trail opened the scoring in the first period on the power play, when Harlan Orr took a pass from Nick Halloran and snapped a screen shot past Forbes Ploszaj at 2:48.

West Kelowna responded with a power-play goal of their own at 6:19, when Jonathan Desbiens potted his first of the season by sliding one along the ice and past Trail goalie Linden Marshall. The Warriors made it 2-1 late in the first period as Forster’s wrister from the circle beat Marshall off the rush.

The Warriors netted back-to-back goals 55 seconds apart early in the second period, as Paul Lovsin scored followed by a Kylar Hope tally. Hope notched his second goal of the game on a great deflection from a Jake Harrison point shot to make it 5-1 as the Smokies managed just three shots on the Warrior goal in the period.

Trail made it a 5-2 game at 4:08 of the third period when Jake Kaupilla spun and wired it by Ploszaj. But the Warriors would respond as Blackburn potted a power-play marker at 8:58 before Rylan Yaremko showed off his hands with a beautiful play to make it 7-2.

Trail would make it 7-3 at 12:39 when Ross Armour deflected one past Ploszaj, but Desbiens would light the lamp again to round out the scoring.

Ploszaj made 17 saves in the win while Marshall made 25 in the loss.

The disappointing performance has caused the coaching staff to reassess the status of its players and if the poor effort continues Saturday against Merritt, changes are imminent.

“Potentially, what it is going to come down to is you’re going to see a lot of affiliate players in the lineup and a lot of changes being made here right away, because it’s unacceptable, we can’t move forward with this type of effort and intensity level,” said Deschenes.

Trail hosts the Merritt Centennials at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Just Posted

Pedestrian killed on Highway 22 Saturday evening

Police say 51-year-old man died after being hit by car

UPDATE: DriveBC says highway re-opened after accident

Highway 22 closed for seven hours on Saturday

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Métis Flag flies in Trail on Louis Riel Day

Area students, officials and public attend flag raising at Trail City Hall

Early Trail borrowed a couple of names from the U.S.

Place Names: Connection between Trail and Butte, Montana

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read