Trail Smoke Eaters look to make most of home games

Face off against Clippers, Silverbacks this weekend

The Trail Smoke Eaters get a reprieve from the road for the next two weeks and will try to gain some ground in the standings as they host Interior division rivals in three of their next four matches at home.

The Smoke Eaters play the Nanaimo Clippers tonight, and battle the Salmon Arm SilverBacks in three of its next five games, in addition to a hosting the Vernon Vipers next Friday, in what must be considered crucial matches if the Smokies are to claw their way back into playoff contention.

Tonight, the return matchup spells the final game between the Clippers and Smokies on the season. Nanaimo is coming off a 3-2 victory over Penticton Vees Saturday, and  will look to duplicate a 5-0 shutout of the Smokies in Nanaimo on Oct. 27.

Jayson Argue earned the shut-out over Trail with a 29-save performance and has carried much of the load for the Clips, with a 2.69 goals-against average and a sparkling .920 save percentage in 19 starts.

Rookie Sheldon Rempal is the hottest Clipper as he leads the team in scoring with eight goals and 15 assists in 23 games, including nine points in his last five matches.

Nanaimo holds down third spot in a tight Island division with a 12-9-0-1 record, trailing Victoria by one point and six back of the league-leading Powell River Kings.

The Smokies are coming off a pair of losses last weekend, a 5-2 loss to Prince George Friday, and, gave up a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 setback to Salmon Arm the next night. Trail will look for better results against the ‘Backs at the Cominco Arena this weekend.

“The response wasn’t there on Friday, but the group responded well on Saturday,” said Smokies coach Nick Deschenes.

The Gorillas are prolific up front and solid on the back end, particularly with University of New Hampshire commit and six-foot-five goaltender Adam Clark (2.93 GAA, .911 save percentage) between the pipes.

Salmon Arm currently sits just two points back of top spot in the Interior division, trailing both the Vees and West Kelowna, each with 29 points.

With three players in the top 20 in scoring, the surprising SilverBacks have the most potent offence in the BCHL with 83 goals. Led by league-leading scorer Landon Smith with 16 goals and 34 points, Alex Gillies 17-9-26, and Evan Anderson 12-12-24, the Smoke Eaters will have to be at their best defensively, and find a way to beat Clark if they are to be successful.

“They (Salmon Arm) have got a good team and I thought we played them well for the most part (Saturday),” added Deschenes. “There was just a couple let downs that again as we move forward, just identifying that every play has an impact on the game. Everything has a purpose and if we all execute and do our jobs we’ll have good results.”

It will also be the first game for the Smoke Eaters since sending defenceman Curtis Toneff to the Merritt Centennials for Dylan Bowen, and Brendon Lamont to the Penticton Vees. Look for the newly acquired Bowen to be in the Smokies lineup this weekend, while Centennials coach Luke Pierce is salivating over Toneff’s arrival.

“We felt that we needed to add a different element to our defense core and believe that Curtis is the right type of player for our group,” Pierce said on the Cent’s website. “He adds more experience and a certain level of physicality and grit. He has had a productive season so far offensively and can contribute when needed in that capacity.”

The Smokies have been suffering from illness and injury of late, so the time at home will hopefully revitalize an ailing team both on and off the ice.

Adam Todd and Tyson Witala remain sidelined with injury, and Valik Chichkin will miss tonight’s game due to a suspension.

The puck drops at the Cominco Arena at 7:30 p.m. versus the Clippers tonight, and the SilverBacks on Saturday.

Smoke Signals: The Smoke Eaters will also be undertaking the BCHL Five-Hole Food Challenge on Saturday, and invite fans to make a donation or bring a non-perishable food item to the Cominco Arena  with all proceeds going to support the Salvation Army food bank.

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

Cropped photo: Silver Screen Drive-in will be in the upper parking lot of Waneta Plaza.
Summer drive-in returns to Trail unveiling blockbuster movies

PHOTOS: Scroll to bottom for a trip down memory lane to the Auto Vue Drive-In

Gentle draft horses are bred and raised in feedlots in Canada to be exported for slaughter. Since 2013, more than 40,000 horses have been exported out of Canada. Photo: Canadian Horse Defense Coalition
Ban the shipping of Canadian horses overseas for slaughter

Since 2013, over 40,000 horses have been exported out of Canada.

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Most Read