The Trail Smoke Eaters opened its season on Saturday at Prospera Place in Chilliwack, but it was anything but prosperous.
Trail was greeted rudely by former Smoke Eater coach Jim Ingram and the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the inaugural BCHL Showcase, that saw all teams face off in a two games series.
The Caps broke open a close 3-1 game by scoring five goals in the third period to roll to an 8-1 victory.
Cowichan Valley took advantage of Trail penalties, scoring four times with the man advantage including a shorthanded goal in the third.
Keyler Bruce put the Capitals on the board with the lone goal of the first period, but Cowichan quickly went up 3-0 early in the second on goals by Eli Jarvis and Jarrett Brown. Trail replied mid-way through the frame when captain Garrett McMullen finished a nice pass from Brent Baltus.
Undisciplined penalties put the brakes on any momentum the Smokies may have gained off McMullen’s marker.
A Trail high-sticking minor less than three minutes into the third, soon made it 4-1 Caps and they followed that with a short-handed goal at the 14:44 mark that sent starter Lyndon Stanwood to the bench in favour of Braedon Krogfoss, but that didn’t stop Cowichan from adding two more PP markers and an even strength goal.
Cowichan special teams ruled the day as they converted four of eight power-play chances while their penalty killing unit held the Smokes to just one goal on seven power-play opportunities.
Cowichan Valley outshot the Smokies 38 to 29 including an 18 shot barrage in the third.
After Cowichan lost to the Surrey Eagles in seven games in the opening round of the playoffs last year, Ingram has added some punch to this season’s lineup with the additions of forward Ryan Hanes from the Kamloops Blazers and Corey Scammon who has committed to the University of Massachusettes, as well as former major junior forwards Matt Grant and Mikael Jung.