Smokies tangle with Vipers

The Trail Smoke Eaters will likely face a riled Vernon Vipers team tonight at the Cominco Arena.

The Trail Smoke Eaters will likely face a riled Vernon Vipers team tonight at the Cominco Arena.

Vernon played arguably one of their worst games of the season on Wednesday, trailing 5-0 in the second period before suffering a 5-2 loss to the Penticton Vees Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the Smoke Eaters are coming off a pair of well-earned 3-2 wins over the Nanaimo Clippers and Salmon Arm SilverBacks last weekend, and play a Vipers team that, despite a poor effort against the Vees, have lost just once in their last five games and are tied for second spot in the Interior division, one point behind Penticton.

The Vipers are led by Michael McNicholas who has 31 points on the season and is tied for fourth in BCHL scoring, and Dexter Dancs, who is on a seven-game point streak, at 9-19-28.  Fortunately for the Smokies, however, the snakes will likely be without leading goal-getter Mason Blacklock who has missed eight games due to injury.

The Smoke Eaters proved they can compete on the weekend, with good defensive support, a strong forecheck, and a consistent offensive effort, they were able to generate good scoring chances, and capitalize on their opportunities.

The Smokies special teams have been decent with the power play ranked fifth in the league scoring on 22 of 105 opportunities, and are 10th in the penalty kill, killing off 80.20 per cent of shorthanded situations.  The Vipers meanwhile have the worst power-play percentage, 14 per cent,  scoring on 15 of 107 opportunities, and are eighth in the league on the PK with 82.69 per cent success.

The Smoke Eaters did have their moments, committing a few glaring giveaways in front of their net on Saturday, but were baled out by goaltender Dustin Nikkel.

Nikkel and Riley Corbin have been superb in goal, alternating starts since Adam Todd went down with injury.

“Both goaltenders are playing extremely well,” said Smoke Eater coach Nick Deschenes. “It makes our decision very tough . . . someone has to play, someone isn’t.”

With the projected return of Todd at the end of the month, the goaltending situation becomes crowded, particularly with the Dec. 1 roster deadline looming, where teams have to cut the number of players cards to 25. Who will be the odd-man out remains to be seen.

“Can’t tell you,” said Smoke Eater coach Nick Deschenes. “A decision will be made the back end of the month. The coaching staff will gather information and were going to do what we can to make the best decision for the club.”

One thing is certain, goaltending will be key in further Smokies’ success.

Join the Smoke Eaters at the KidSport tailgating party at the Trail Memorial Centre from 5 to 7 p.m. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Return-it’s Express and Go is an innovative recycling depot for Big White residents and visitors. Photo: Submitted
Regional district brings innovative recycling unit to Big White

Powered by solar energy, the 40-foot repurposed shipping container is called an Express and Go model

Early steals opened the door for Team Nichol in a victory over Team Small on Thursday at Kootenay Savings Super League curling. Photo: Jim Bailey.
Super League Curling: van Yzerloo-Fines match goes down to wire

Kootenay Savings Super League goes every Thursday night at the Trail Curling Club

Glacier Gymnastics head coach Sandra Long says she doesn’t understand why her sport is currently shut down while others are allowed to operate. Photo: Tyler Harper
‘It is bewildering’: Nelson sports leaders call out provincial shut down

Indoor group classes for activities such as gymnastics and dance are on hold

Quaid Anderson
Former Nitehawk makes himself at home with BCHL Bucks

Former Nitehawk Quaid Anderson is glad to return home to Cranbrook and chance to play in BCHL

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

Seven Deers carved Shinning Raven Woman out of Labradorite harvested from the Canadian Shield. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Sculpture by Indigenous artist to be erected in Grand Forks

Civic leaders have rallied behind the project by Grand Forks’ David Seven Deers

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Most Read