Smokies come home with split in Westside

Game 3 of quarter-final goes tonight at 7 p.m.
at Cominco Arena.

The Trail Smoke Eaters have accomplished the first stage of their goal.Now, tonight, comes the second part.The Smokies opened the BCHL playoffs on the weekend in West Kelowna and came away with a split in the first two games of their Interior Division quarter-final against the Westside Warriors.“We got what we wanted,” said Smokies coach Jim Ingram. “We wanted to win at least one.“But I hesitate to get too excited. If we want to get by them we have to beat them more than once. They’re a very good hockey team.”Trail won Friday night 4-2 but Westside rebounded to even the series Saturday with a 4-2 win.The series resumes tonight at the Cominco Arena with Game 3 set for 7 p.m. Game 4 goes Tuesday at the Cominco Arena, also with a 7 p.m. start.“I think we’ll see another tough battle (tonight),” said Ingram. “We have some bad blood brewed up and it’s the playoffs.”Things got heated at the end of Saturday’s second period and flared up again as regulation time expired.Westside took a 3-0 lead early in the second and held on to tie the series at 1-1. Sam Mellor and Jake Baker had the Smokie markers while Smiley had a busier night facing 36 shots.“The game Saturday was disappointing,” admitted Ingram.“We played pretty well in the third,” he said, adding the team responded well when things got rough. I think we let them know we weren’t going to roll over.”Friday night in Game 1, the team’s big shooters delivered as Cullen Bradshaw scored twice with Scott Jacklin and Nic DeSousa adding singles in a 4-2 victory.It marked the team’s first win over the Warriors this season and eliminated home ice advantage for the Warriors.Westside was caught off guard by the variety of line combinations that Ingram sent out.“I wanted to throw them something different and get our butts in gear to be honest.“I didn’t think we were producing much of anything lately. And there’s a certain amount of comfort that comes with playing with the same guys all the time. And when that comfort becomes non-productive, then it’s not helping anybody.”Goaltender Kiefer Smiley, who, along with Jacklin, was named to the Interior Division’s first all-star team earlier on Friday, turned aside 27 shots for the victory.