The BC Tier 2 Pee Wee hockey championship opened up on Sunday at the Cominco Arena with the host Trail Pee Wee Smoke Eaters picking up a point on opening day.
The Tier 2 Smoke Eaters suffered a 5-1 loss to the West Kelowna Warriors Sunday morning but bounced back with a gritty effort against the Fort St. John Flyers in an exciting 1-1 draw on the first day of the provincial championship.
The teams played scoreless hockey through two periods with both the Smokies’ goalie Landon Uzeloc and the Flyers’ A.J. Fanning making big saves to keep the teams deadlocked at zeroes.
But Trail finally broke through while shorthanded early in the third period, when Joel Smyth forced a turnover in the Flyers corner and fed Nathan Dominici in the slot, and the Trail forward wired a snap shot top corner to give the Smokies a 1-0 lead.
However, Fort St. John replied two minutes later, when Caden Brown broke in on the left side and snuck a wrister under the arm of Uzeloc to tie it at 1-1.
Following the Smokies-Flyers match, the opening ceremonies saw all nine teams take to the ice including the Powell River Kings, Kitimat Winterhawks, Prince George Cougars, West Kootenay Rapids, Burnaby Winter Kings, West Kelowna Warriors, Vancouver Team, Fort St. John Flyers, and the Smoke Eaters.
After the team introductions and national anthem, Trail Mayor Mike Martin welcomed the visitors, and special guest Adam Deadmarsh, a Fruitvale native and former Colorado Avalanche and L.A. Kings forward, dropped the puck to officially kick off the provincial championship.
In Sunday’s other matches, Vancouver beat Powell River 5-2, West Kootenay doubled up Kitimat 6-3, and Burnaby shut out Prince George 7-0. The late game’s score between Powell River and West Kelowna was unavailable at press time.
The games start at 7:15 a.m. with the Fort St. John Flyers taking on the Kings, while the Smoke Eaters face off against Powell River at 3:30 on Monday.