Trail Smoke Eaters set to close out 2013 against West Kelowna

Dec. 30 Smokies game doubles as fundraiser for Cadance Brace

The Trail Smoke Eaters are hoping a rare week-night matchup and deserving community cause will inspire the team to close out the 2013 calendar on a winning note.

The team hosts the West Kelowna Warriors at the Cominco Arena in Trail’s only Monday night game of the regular season.

The game will also be in support of Cadance Brace, a local five-year-old girl currently undergoing chemotherapy at the B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver where she is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, cancer of the white blood cells. A portions of the gate receipts, puck toss and 50-50 draws will be donated to support the Trail family.

The community-minded deed and the rare Monday game could combine to wash away the Smokies’ forgettable finish prior to the BCHL’s Christmas break last weekend.

The Smokies had a 3-2 lead on the Victoria Grizzlies last Friday night before giving up three goals in the final 20 minutes of a 5-3 loss in the B.C. capital. The Grizzlies scored three goals in an eight-minute span to start the third and turned the game around.

The next night in Chilliwack, the Chiefs blew away their 11-game losing streak and Smokies in one fell swoop with a record-tying output in a 13-5 shellacking. Sean Davies had a two-goal effort for Trail.

Meanwhile, the Warriors are looking to close out a strong month of December where they’ve won five of seven games.

Since the start of the month, the Warriors have inched up the Interior Conference standings and currently sit third, just four points behind the second-place Vernon Vipers with two games in hand. However, in the bunched up standings, the

Warriors also have to look over their shoulder with Salmon Arm, in fourth, and Merritt, in fifth, only one and two points behind respectively.

That means even though the struggling Smokies’ playoff hopes continue to dim, the squad can still play a pivotal role in the playoff fortunes of other teams.

And Trail has found success against the Warriors. The Smokies won the last meeting, 5-1 in West Kelowna back on Nov. 2. The Warriors won the first matchup between the two teams with a 5-3 victory in Trail on Sept. 28.