Exhibition season starts for Smokies

The Trail Smoke Eaters began the exhibition season this week in Chase, with a pair of games against the Prince George Spruce Kings.

The Trail Smoke Eaters began the exhibition season this week in Chase, with a pair of games against the Prince George Spruce Kings.

The Smokies carried a mix of young rookies and returning vets to the neutral site and after a close 2-1 loss to the Kings on Tuesday, the Smokies dropped a 4-0 decision on Wednesday.

According to Smoke Eater broadcaster and marketing director Chris Wahl, the Smokies were stymied in the second match by 20-year-old Prince George goalie Kirk Thompson.

Trail fired 38 shots at the Spruce Kings net but Thompson came up big, especially during a third-period flurry with the Smokies on a two-man advantage.

In the first match, the Smokies and Spruce Kings were  tied 1-1 until Jeremiah Luedtke potted the game winner for the Kings with under 90 seconds remaining in the third.

Brent Baltus counted Trail’s only goal, converting a pass from Scotty Davidson to open the scoring at 5:47 of the first period.

Davidson, a Trail product, was impressive in the Smokies camp despite missing most of last season with a knee injury.

The Smokies have the luxury of at least a hand full of returning players, none more important than goalie Lyndon Stanwood returning between the pipes.

Stanwood and Cody Boeckman split the game in net with Stanwood stopping 26 of 27 shots in the first half, and Boeckman coming in and blocking 11 of 12.

The Smoke Eaters play the Merrit Centennials tonight in Merritt before returning home for a return tilt against the Centennials at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Cominco Arena.

Also, a pair of recent acquisitions – goalie Braden Krogfoss and forward Anthony Conti – are both on their way from WHL camps in Kamloops and Calgary respectively.

Conti could be in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Centennials, while Krogfoss will likely meet the team later this week.