The Trail Smoke Eaters will look to shake off back-to-back losses to the Cranbrook Bucks, as they prepare for the West Kelowna Warriors and Langley Rivermen on the road this weekend.
The Bucks extended their unbeaten streak to nine games with 3-0 and 5-2 victories over the Smoke Eaters on Friday, Dec. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 31.
In Cranbrook on Saturday, Jeremey Tremblay opened the scoring just 53 seconds into the first period when he converted a setup from Blake Cotton. Bucks forward Nick Peluso made it 2-0 at the 1:44 mark when he tallied his 10th of the season on a 2-on-1 rush.
In a scoreless second period, the Bucks outshot Trail 11-9 in the middle frame, but Trail goalie Teagan Kendrick was solid in the Smoke Eaters net.
Trail fought back early in the third period, as Nic Remmissong deflected one past Bucks goalie Carter Capton at 0:55 to cut Cranbrook’s lead to 2-1. The Bucks restored their two-goal lead at 4:01, but Smokies forward Adam Marshall made it 3-2 on a tip-in at 8:07.
However, Cranbrook foiled the Trail comeback on goals from Bauer Morrissey and another from Tremblay to sweep their home-and-home with the Smoke Eaters.
Saturday’s win puts Cranbrook’s record at 21-8-1-0, good for second place in the Interior Conference with 43 points. Cranbrook outshot the Smokies 40-25, and were 0-for-6 on the power play, while Trail was 0-for-2.
On Friday, Trail came out flying but a combination of missed opportunities, hit posts, and strong goaltending from Capton, sealed the shutout victory for the visiting Bucks.
Bucks newest addition Jeremey Tremblay scored two goals, and Donovan Frias added an empty netter for the 3-0 win over Trail. The Smoke Eaters lone goal midway through the second period was called back due to a high stick.
Cranbrook acquired the rights to Tremblay, a 20-year-old forward, from the Hawksbury Hawks of the CCHL on Dec. 1 in exchange for 19-year-old forward William Blackbury. So far, the Orford, Que. native has four goals and six points in six games with Cranbrook.
The shots were even at 24, with Trail going 0-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the PK.
Despite the setback, Trail enjoyed a six game winning streak leading up to the weekend, and will take on Interior rival West Kelowna Warriors on Friday. Trail, at 14-13-1-2, defeated the Warriors 4-2 at home on Dec. 10 and are five points back of West K, who sit in third in the Interior Conference.
Trail will take on the Langley Rivermen on Saturday, Jan. 7. The Rivermen currently sit in eighth place in the Coastal Conference at 9-18-1-2, and have struggled of late with just two wins in December.
Smoke Eaters fans can access the games online at HockeyTV or listen to the broadcast on the BCHL or Smoke Eaters website.