Sports ‘n’ Things with Dave Thompson

Sports ‘n’ Things with Dave Thompson

Smoke Eaters struggles continue heading into tough stretch

Thompson: ” … home games closing out the pre-holiday schedule will showcase some real talent.”

Not a particularly fun night at the arena Wednesday. The Smoke Eaters slightly outplayed the Vernon Vipers, in a game from which they really needed a regulation victory and the two standings points, but had extreme difficulty scoring and were outclassed in overtime.

Vernon scored twice on its first three shot attempts, one an extremely bad goal from the corner behind the Trail goal line, and the Smokies inability to convert puck control into scores kicked their chances, again.

Do not let the official shot count mislead you into thinking the play was even. I stopped counting after six direct attempts, with saves by the Viper keeper involved, failed to register in the stats. Trail was, slightly, dominant for most of the game, but unable to create many good opportunities for goals. Vernon does check well.

The overtime was a lost cause. Vernon threw their most talented players out, because three-on-three kinda requires that. Trail did not respond in kind. While the personnel involved are solid players, speedier and more skillfull Smokies remained on the bench.

Trail had one brief spot of control, gave the puck away, and never possessed it again. The Vipers made short work of the open ice overtime supplies.

As much as Trail has improved defensively, particularly in their own end of the ice, they have regressed in the opponents zone. Even when a forecheck turns the puck over to them, there is seldom a Smokie available to use a scoring chance.

Trail forwards do not focus, except for the odd power play setup, on gaining and/or keeping, access to the prime scoring area in the short and medium slot. Opposing defencemen sometimes look confused at not having to defend that crucial area, and that is never a good sign.

Yes, there has been turnovers and injuries, but, by now, not having even one set line, or having developed a power play point setup with two capable defencemen (having your top scorer anchored out at the blueline just seems a waste), are real failings.

It is still a bargain entertainment, and home games closing out the pre-holiday schedule will showcase some real talent. The top three teams in the toughest division in junior A hockey are all on the docket coming up, with doubleheaders for two of those clubs.

It won’t be an easy run-in, by any stretch, for Trail, which will not be favoured to get even a point from now till Christmas. Any points they do achieve will be good bonuses in the standings. In the meantime, there is lots of activity in the rink during games, charitable opportunities for those inspired by the season, access to those coveted iconic clothing and souvenir items, and the draws.

Not, so far, a year of dynamic memory making, but still a worthwhile endeavour – getting out to the games.

• The last pre-holiday home game for the Nitehawks, who seem to have righted the ship (we knew they would) is Saturday night.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo: David Dudeck
What you see …

Share your photos with Trail Times readers at editor@trailtimes.ca

A crew of 8 regional firefighters attended a house fire in Fruitvale on Friday. Photo: Trail Times
Friday house fire in Fruitvale

Three firefighters from Station 374 Trail attended; 2 from Montrose; 3 from Fruitvale

A juvenile sturgeon in a B.C. rearing facility. The wild population in the Upper Columbia is estimated at 1,100 individuals, enhanced with roughly 5,500 hatchery fish. (file photo)
B.C.’s Upper Columbia sturgeon endure long battle with local extinction

Decades of monitoring and intervention is ongoing to save the prehistoric fish

Discipleship is indeed exacting, as are the questions that arise from reading such a text: Am I in the game God has called me to? Photo: Hugo Fergusson on Unsplash
In the Game

Am I in the game God has called me to?

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read