Penticton Vees upend Trail Smoke Eaters

Smokies lost to the Vees 3-1 in a pre-season game on Wednesday.

The Trail Smoke Eaters couldn’t hold an early lead against the Penticton Vees in preseason BCHL action on Wednesday at the South Okanagan Event Centre in Penticton, falling to the Vees 3-1.

Tyson Wittala scored his second goal in as many nights, jumping on a giveaway behind the Vees’ net and deking rookie goalie Hunter Miska to give the Smokies a 1-0 first-period lead.

The Smokies started off strong, holding a 6-0 lead in shots in the opening 17 minutes of the first period. But the Vees finished strong in the final three minutes outshooting the Smokies 7-0, and carrying that momentum into the second period.

Vees veteran Cody DePourcq evened the score early in the middle frame. On their third power-play, DePourcq finished off a nice give-and-go by skating out from the corner and putting a wrist-shot over Todd’s glove at 5:46.

In the third, the Vees went ahead on another power-play, as Matt Serratore put the finishing touches on a pretty passing play down low. Josh Blanchard made a slick cross-ice pass under the stick of Braden Pears to Serratore at the far post, who deposited it deftly into the opened net.

Anthony Conti added an insurance marker picking up the puck in the neutral zone, and streaking down the right-wing before making a power-move to the crease and tucking the puck past a sprawled Todd at the seven-minute mark.

The Vees outshot the Smokies 29-23. Cody DePourcq and Matt Serratore each picked up a goal and an assist.

The Vees went 2-5 on the power-play, while the Smokies were 0-5. The Smoke Eaters finish their preseason games tonight in Merritt against the Centennials.

The Smoke Eaters open their season at the Bauer Showcase in Chilliwack Sept. 6 against Langley and Sept. 8 versus Cowichan Valley.

Trail’s first home game goes Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. against the Penticton Vees.

Smoke Signals:

A new face was in the lineup Tuesday against the Selkirk Colleg Saints. The Smoke Eaters acquired Curtis Toneff, a 20-year-old defenceman from the Winkler Flyers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for future considerations on Monday.

Toneff is a veteran D-man playing 118 games for four different teams in the BCHL (Westside Warriors and Alberni Valley Bulldogs), Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (Battleford North Stars), and the Flyers of the MJHL.  Last season was his most productive scoring four goals and adding 24 assists for 28 points in 56 games.