Despite a 3-1 loss to the Vernon Vipers on Tuesday, the Trail Smoke Eaters will have something to look forward to as they return home for a two-game tilt against the Prince George Spruce Kings this weekend.
The Fred Page Cup, the Holy Grail of BCHL hockey, lands in Trail this weekend and will be on display at the Cominco Arena for a pair of Smokies games Friday and Saturday.
The 2011-12 season marks the 51st quest for the coveted cup, which is one of the most difficult championships to win in all of junior hockey.
“It’s interesting to see because it goes right back to the 60’s, much like the Stanly Cup -not as expensive – but it is a beautiful display,” said Smoke Eater president Tom Gawryletz.
The Cup has been making the rounds to BCHL communities and following the weekend matchup, Prince George will take it home.
In the Smokie-Viper game, Castlegar’s Aaron Hadley notched the winning goal with just over six minutes to go in the first period.
Hadley’s ninth goal of the season put the snakes up 2-0 but Clayton McEwan got the Smokies right back in it when he scored his second tally of the year on a power play.
The Smokies skated with the Vipers the whole game, especially in the second period when they applied constant pressure but could not beat Viper goalie Kirby Halcrow. Trail would have loved to have dealt the Vipes a blow to their playoff hopes as they fight it out for the fourth and final playoff spot with the Chilliwack Chiefs.
Trail’s Erik Cooper picked up an assist, extending his point-scoring streak to nine games. In that time the Anchorage native has scored seven goals and added 11 assists for 18 points.
Smoke Eater goalie Lyndon Stanwood played well in the loss, stopping 31 of 34 shots and has been a consistent and often sensational backstop for the team since joining them in November.
In their bouts with Prince George the team will have to play tough against a prolific scoring line made up of BCHL leading scorer Paul De Jersey, Jujhar Khaira and Michael Colantone who have amassed over 200 points this season.
In their only other meeting, the Smokies lost to the Spruce Kings 5-2 on Dec. 30 in Prince George, a game where they were out shot 48-17.
The Penticton Vees winning streak continues as they broke the record Tuesday with a convincing 7-0 win over Chilliwack. Trail’s Travis St. Denis scored a goal in the victory for the Vees who play next on Friday hosting the Salmon Arm SilverBacks.
The Vees can now set their sights on matching the 89-90 New Westminster Royals mark of 38 games undefeated.