Smokies Roll Through BCHL Showcase

The Trail Smoke Eaters won three games in a row heading into the BCHL Showcase Festival last weekend.  Games versus the Merritt Centennials and the Prince George Spruce Kings were the scheduled competition for the Smokies at the Showcase.

Merritt has struggled to find its game early in the season. The Smoke Eaters would look to take advantage of a Centennials team that played the previous night. The Cents opened their BCHL Showcase the previous night with a 4-1 loss versus the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

The Smokies found their scoring touch as of late with fourteen goals in the last three games, and continued their scoring ways. Merritt goaltender Tanner Marshall, a familiar face for Smokies fans, faced twenty shots in the first twenty-six minutes.  The Smoke Eaters found the back of the net five times in the first period and ended Marshall’s night early. Owen Ozar and Michael Colella led the way with two goals apiece and Kent Johnson continued his point streak with a goal and two assists in a 7-1 victory for the Smokies.  Logan Terness picked up the win with a 30 save performance – continuing his strong play of late.

On Saturday, the Smokies faced the Prince George Spruce Kings for the second time in a week.  With a 3-0 victory in the previous game, the Spruce Kings were looking for a little payback. However, the Smoke Eaters continued the trend of getting the scoring started. Trail’s offence found the score sheet five times before the halfway point of the second period. A total of eleven goals were scored on the night as the Smokies would pick up the victory with a 7-4 final.

Colella continued his strong Showcase with a hat trick before the end of the second frame to go along with two assists in the game. He finished the weekend with five goals and three assists and is third in league scoring, one point behind line mate Kent Johnson.

The Smoke Eaters now find themselves on a five-game winning streak and have outscored their opponents 28-8 over this period. Trail continues the road trip, traveling to Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

The Smoke Eaters head to Duncan to face the Island Division-leading Cowichan Valley Capitals are up first on Friday night. The Smokies will have to get to Capitals rookie netminder Zach Borgiel who has had a fantastic start to his BCHL season. He has started off with nine wins and two losses while spotting a 2.20 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage.

The Smokies then head down to Victoria for their second match-up of the season versus the Grizzlies. Trail beat the Grizzlies 6-2 back on Sept. 22 at Cominco Arena. The Grizzlies find themselves at the bottom of the Island Division but coming off a victory at home against the Powell River Kings.

On Sunday, the Smoke Eaters complete three games in three nights with a match up with the Surrey Eagles. Surrey sits fifth in the Mainland Division having lost its last four games heading into the weekend.

After the long weekend, the Smokies return to Trail and the Cominco Arena on Oct. 18 for their first of just three home games in the month. The Nanaimo Clippers come to Trail for the first meeting of the season for these two clubs.

There is a lot of hockey to be played between now and Oct. 23, but make a note in your calendar. That is the first opportunity for the Smoke Eaters to exact a little payback against the Penticton Vees after they handly beat the Smokies to kick off the 2019-20 season.