The Trail Smoke Eaters lost 5-2 to the Coquitlam Express Friday at the Cominco Arena, but made moves to bolster its lineup as it gets set to play the Merritt Centennials in Merritt today.
Trail sent defenceman Braedon Jones to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Portage Terriers, the host of the 2014 RBC Cup Saturday, and picked up Cody Bardock from the Alberta Junior League’s Sherwood Park Crusaders Friday. Both transactions were made with future considerations going the other way.
The 19-year-old Jones was sidelined with injury last season and limited in playing time, however, the Edmonton native put up 9 points in 44 games in his time with the orange and black.
Bardock is a six-foot-five, 20-year-old blue-liner from Lethbridge, who will bring added size and leadership to the Smokies defence. He scored a goal and added seven assists in 12 games for the Crusaders this season and will be in the lineup against Merritt.
On Friday, the Smoke Eaters outshot the Express 31-30, but could not translate their chances into goals. Giveaways plagued the Smokies all night as the Express jumped out to a four goal lead before Trail’s Tyson Witala replied with two goals.
Ryan Rosenthal scored twice for the Express in the first period, before Joey Santucci netted what proved to be the winner at 10:44 of the second period. Zach Hodder and Cannon Peiper would round out the scoring for the Express.
Riley Corbin got the start in net for the Smokies and stopped 25 shots, while Jake Kauppila counted two assists on the night.