The Trail Smoke Eaters embark on a long road trip where they will face the Cowichan Valley Capitals tonight before battling Victoria and Chilliwack on Friday and Saturday.
The Smokies are hoping some time away from home might snap a nine-game losing streak, and Duncan might just be the place to do it against the Capitals.
Trail has taken two games from the Caps this season winning 6-2 in a match at Prospera Place in Chilliwack Sept. 8 then beating them 3-2 at home on Sept. 27.
The Smokies will also face recently traded defenceman Valik Chichkin, although Mitch and Rylan Ball whom Trail was to receive in return have yet to report. Former Smoke Eater Kyle Horsman will also suit up for Cowichan. Horsman played 40 games with the orange and black in 2011-12 before being traded. Cowichan currently sits in fourth in the Island division with 27 points.
Perhaps the Smoke Eaters greatest challenge will come against Victoria Grizzlies who recently disenfranchised the Powell River Kings of top spot in the Island division with a 5-1 win. The Grizzies are Led by two of the three Fitzgerald triplets, Myles and Gerry, (Leo is out with injury), who sit in fourth and fifth in League scoring with 48 and 46 points respectively. Victoria is heavily loaded with offensive threats, that also includes former Smoke Eater Brandon Egli and will have to be solid defensively and in net if they hope to put points on the board. Trail and Victoria skated to a 4-4 tie at the Cominco Arena on Nov. 1.
If fatigue doesn’t set in on Saturday, the Smoke Eaters can take advantage of a Chilliwack Chiefs team that has also struggled mightily these season. Chilliwack’s recent futility streak surpasses that of the Smokies as the Chiefs had lost 10 in a row going into the game against Trail Saturday, in their first meeting of the season.