Trail Smoke Eaters goalie Logan Terness turns aside a shot at practice on Tuesday afternoon as the team prepares for it’s opening season match against the Penticton Vees on Friday. Jim Bailey photo.

Trail Smoke Eaters set to kick off 2019-20 BCHL season

The Trail Smoke Eaters final roster will be set by game time on Friday

A competitive camp and a promising preseason has the Trail Smoke Eaters primed for the start of the 2019-20 BCHL season.

The Smoke Eaters cut their roster back to 25 players before sweeping a home-and-home with the West Kelowna Warriors on the weekend. The results bode well for a Smokies team poised to open the regular season against perennial favourites Penticton Vees on Friday and Saturday.

“I like the fact that we only gave up two goals, and I think it was 40 shots on the weekend, so that’s a big part, is learning how to defend, and not having to win a game 6-4,” said Smoke Eaters head coach and GM Jeff Tambellini. “I like that we were in games that were 2-1 and 3-1 and our team got into the rhythm of playing those kind of games.”

Related read: Smoke Eaters sweep Warriors

Despite winning 3-of-4 in the preseason, the biggest loss the Trail Smoke Eaters suffered was that of captain Philippe Lapointe, who went down hard in a preseason match against the Grande Prairie Storm.

“We had a big setback in week-1 losing a franchise player in our first exhibition game,” said Tambellini. “He (Lapointe) is going to be out for a while, we’re still waiting on the full diagnosis, but we plan on starting the season without him.”

Related read: Trail captain embraces role with new team

There were few surprises of who remained at the end of the exhibition season, with all the veterans and committed players earning a spot on the Smokies roster.

Smokies veteran goalie Donovan Buskey earned the opening night start against the Vees on Friday, but his backup is yet to be determined. Tambellini says the team will make a decision on either 20-year-old veteran Gabriel Waked or 16-year-old rookie Logan Terness by game time. With Lapointe out with injury, that will bring the Smokies roster down to the required 23 active players.

Terness, whose grandparents live in Greater Trail, carries loads of talent and potential and is a bonafide future starter if Trail sticks with him. However, if the ‘Time is Now,’ then Waked’s maturity and experience may trump Terness’ youth and promise.

“Donovan Buskey is our starter, and by game time Friday night it will be very clear who our goaltenders are.”

Defence may prove to be the Smoke Eaters strength with veteran returnees Diarmad Dimurro, Trevor Isaakson, Kyle Budvarson, Kieran O’Hearn, and Powell Connor back in the line up. Rookies Corey Mcann, 18, Jordan Hendry, 17, and Jackson Murphy-Johnson, 17, round out the top-eight.

“I thought our young guys came in and played very well for the last two and a half weeks. We were lucky to bring in a lot of veteran players, that really took the weight off young guys having to come in and make an impact defensively right away. But we like how prepared they are, and our older guys are ready to make an impact.”

The Smoke Eaters offensive corps was impressive in post-season play collecting a handful of highlight-reel tallies, while outshooting both the Warriors and the Storm by a significant margin. Veterans Kent Johnson, Tyler Ghirardosi, Owen Ozar, and Max Kryski are Trail’s only returning forwards, with 10 new faces (Liam Freeborn, Mike Colella, Braden Costello, Colby Elmer, Corey Clifton, Chase Dafoe, Jaden Senkoe, Connor Sweeney, Walker Erickson, and Lapointe) rounding out the offence.

Trail played fast and physical in its exhibition series games with big hits and a couple of tilts courtesy of Dimurro and rookie Dafoe to set the tone in a Game-1 win over the Storm. The returning veterans led the way against West K, with Kent, Ghirardosi, and Ozar accounting for four-of-five goals and eight points in its two wins. They will be expected to lead the team up front, but should have ample support from seasoned Junior A players like Freeborn, Lapointe, Colella, Sweeney, Costello and Clifton.

“It seems like our team has been kind of set, where everyone is coming in with a role in mind,” added Tambellini. “And so far we’re seeing it in every guy. Once we start the regular season we’ll know more about what guys are ready to bring, but we’re very pleased with the preparation and just the execution for our group in the first two weeks.”

Tambellini and the Smoke Eaters coaching staff has been meticulous in their effort to build a winning team, and although the team is light on local talent, for fans at the Cominco Arena, the potential entertainment value is sky high.

“We’re just looking to be a team that’s extremely hard to play against every night, with the puck and without the puck, and build an identity where we’re going to compete at an extremely high level every time we play.”

Trail hosts Penticton on Friday and Saturday at the Cominco Arena with the puck drop at 7 p.m.

See more on the Trail vs Penticton game in Friday’s Trail Times.



sports@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Katrine Conroy has won for the fifth time in the Kootenay West riding. Photo: Submitted
Katrine Conroy ready to tackle challenges after election

Conroy won the Kootenay West riding for the fifth time

Logan Terness made 31 saves to backstop the Trail Smoke Eaters to a 4-2 victory over the Cranbrook Bucks on Saturday at the Cominco Arena. Jim Bailey photo.
Trail Smoke Eaters double up Bucks, take Game 3 of Kootenay Cup

The Trail Smoke Eaters Chase Dafoe scored the game winner in a 4-2 victory over Cranbrook Saturday

Katrine Conroy
Katrine Conroy declared winner in Kootenay West

Preliminary results put NDP candidate firmly in the lead.

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health sees 31 new cases of COVID-19 over record-breaking weekend

Eighty-six cases remain active and one person is hospitalized with the virus

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Most Read