Don’t let the shot stats fool you, Trail was full value for the win over Victoria last weekend at Cominco Arena.
But, don’t let Trail’s standings position right now fool you, either.
The Smoke Eaters look much better than they did at this point last season, but still need a hard push to even be considered a playoff contender.
Only two teams in the league, and that doesn’t include Vernon, against whom they have a back-to-back games over the next week, have lower winning percentages than Trail. No team sports a worse goal differential.
The Smokies are the only interior division team coming off a win, and were the only one to defeat Victoria on the Grizzlies’ three game swing through the division, so the portents are positive.
Trail still needs to get more pressure into the opposition end, particularly when they have the lead – the shots last Friday do indicate that problem – but their scoring is becoming more balanced and their goalkeeping has been solid of late.
A decent crowd last Friday seemed to help the club remain focused for most of 60 minutes, so let’s try and keep that up.
As they are unbeaten in games (just one, so far, for various reasons) which I have attended, I hope to make the weekenders.
You should try, too.
The way the NHL bargaining has been going, this will be the best hockey option all year, so be glad we have these opportunities, and support their continuation.
• I am a bit loath to admit it, but the San Francisco Giants were very deserving winners in the latest World Series, and they did it in a very Trail-like fashion.
Trail baseball teams, beginning in Little League, very often won – because they out-focused and out-disciplined opponents with superior athletic talent – just by executing better. Trail made routine plays, well, routinely, and added enough outstanding plays to succeed.
Trail teams almost always made more good plays and fewer mistakes than their opponents, and therefore won a lot.
The Giants followed exactly that formula in sweeping Detroit. San Francisco played excellent defense and Detroit was mediocre to poor in that department.
The Giants focused on getting the ball into play when batting, while Detroit looked undisciplined, often even foolish, at the plate. San Francisco forced the issues on offence, Detroit did not.
It ended with the Tigers’ superstar seeing a flat, belt high, 84 mph fastball in the middle of the plate – a pitch most Legion hitters and a lot of slo-pitch players would have at least fouled off – and taking for a called third strike to end the agony.
It was, all in all, a fitting end. So, well done Giants. See you next year.