Once more into the breach this weekend for the Smoke Eaters, who actually have three home barn outings in the next five days.
As this is the beginning of eight home starts in 11 games over the next few weeks, it behooves Trail to continue the home winning trend they started last weekend.
That will require them to improve offensively. The Smokies outshot Vernon in every period Wednesday, but still lost, 5-1. One goal on 42 shots is never going to cut it in the BCHL.
A major improvement is necessary on one of the special teams. Trail is worst in the league on the power play and has yet to score on 16 chances in Cominco Arena. Someone, two, or more players have to begin finding the net on man advantage opportunities if the Smoke Eaters, who play outstanding hockey when a man down – second overall on the penalty kill – are to have any hope of being successful this season.
Despite promising early results from several veteran players, Trail has only one scorer in the top 60, their top two are both younger players, and their team power play total has been surpassed by at least one individual player from another squad.
We keep thinking it is still early in the season, but as Yogi said, “It gets late early out there.” The Smokies need to produce positive results from their puck possession and scoring opportunities right now, or, “late early,” will be prophetic.
The weekend will not have an easy start. Langley will come off the bus leading their division and plus-10 in the scoring differential. The Smoke Eaters, in particular the veteran Smoke Eaters, need to be ready and willing to step up and deliver.
Still hopeful, but it is beginning to look like the home heavy next three weeks will be a strong indication of the Smokies’ fate for 2015/16.
•The Blue Jays were very fortunate, getting errors on routine plays, committed by good players, on their way to taking advantage an opportunity to win Game 5 Wednesday, but should not count on receiving the same largesse in the league championship.
The team has serious talent, maybe the best in baseball, on both offence and defence, but will only go as far as its pitching staff takes it. The management of that staff, since late regular season, has caused a lot of head scratching, even head shaking, among baseball people, but the Jays have prevailed, so, so far, so good.
We will see tonight (Thursday) whether my dream of Dodgers over Jays in the world series is still alive.
•Please, please, if you have not already, get out and vote for your vision of Canada on Monday. I cannot remember, in my seven decades, an election of more significance.