The Trail Smoke Eaters return home Friday night after a five game road swing over a two week period that saw the team log over 45 hours on the bus in trips to Powell River, Chilliwack, Surrey, Penticton and Cranbrook.
It culminated with a 2-1 overtime loss in an early start after a road game the night before.
The Smoke Eaters battled hard and deserved a better fate against their Kootenay rival, in a game that included two shots off goal posts.
The Smokies open a weekend double-header against the Nanaimo Clippers without one of their top four defenseman.
Patrick Reilly left Sunday’s game in the second period after taking a heavy, open-ice hit. Head Coach and GM, Tim Fragle says he will not be available this weekend and joins Ethan Mann, Gryphon Bucci, and Judah Makway on the road to recovery.
It will be the second head-to-head match of the season between Trail and the Clippers.
The teams tangled in a wild one at the BCHL Showcase in Seattle with the Smokies winning 8-6.
Trail tallied six unanswered goals before giving up the final two late in the game.
Callas Pierce scored his first two BCHL goals in that game while Adam Marshall also potted a pair.
Connor Hayes scored twice for the Clippers in a game that also saw Smokies goalie Teagan Kendrick stop Joel Plante on a third period penalty shot.
Trail (7-7-4) will try to put a three-game losing streak on ice, while the Clippers (8-7-2) are looking for their third straight win and are coming off a 5-2 win over the Bulldogs in Alberni Valley.
Ridge Dawson continues to lead the Smoke Eaters in goals and points with 8 and 17. That’s one point better than Josh Schenk and Max Potvin.
Mike Murtagh has a team-leading 12 goals for Nanaimo and is tied with Willyam Gendron for the points lead with 23.
Opening face off at Cominco Arena is at 7 p.m. and will kick off Parent’s Weekend, which will see a number of Trail Smoke Eaters’ family at the games this weekend. There will be a MEGA 50/50 starting at $3770 and a Smokies After the Game “Happy Hour”, which will have $5 drinks and live music, featuring Jason Thomas.