Offensive woes hamper Smokies

The Trail Smoke Eaters lack of scoring punch may prove to be the team’s Achilles’ heel.

The Trail Smoke Eaters lack of scoring punch may prove to be the team’s Achilles’ heel.

Initial concerns were realized over the weekend when the Smoke Eaters failed to score  a goal until their final game of their four team exhibition tournament.

They managed just two goals total in three games; getting shutout by Powell River KIngs 6-0 and Brooks Bandits 5-0 before dropping a close one to the Wenatchee Wild of the USJHL, 3-2.

“We didn’t score but our work ethic was very good, I thought, and we got better as the weekend went on and that’s what exhibition is all about,” said Smokies coach Bill Birks.

The Smoke Eaters played a lot of young guys and mixed line combinations to see how players responded, added Birks.

It wasn’t the best performance by a Smoke Eater’s team in the Labour Day exhibition tournament, but for a team that lost its six top scorers from last year, it will take  new players time to gel and eventually find the net.

Despite the offensive woes, the first-year Smokies head coach remains optimistic.

“It (being unable to score) freaks me out, but like I say, guys haven’t played with each other very much.

“We’ve got a couple weeks to go before the league starts, we’ll get some practice and have guys playing with each other regularly.”

Powell River Kings went undefeated in the tournament.

The Smoke Eaters begin their preseason exhibition schedule Friday in Salmon Arm against the Silverbacks.

Their first exhibition game at the Cominco Arena is on Sept. 16 at 7:00 p.m. against the Vernon Vipers.