It’s hockey night in Cranbrook.
The Smoke Eaters are bound by bus for the East Kootenay to battle the Bucks.
Trail has taken off early in the second half of the season.
Sunday’s 4-1 patient pumping of Prince George at Cominco Arena was their fourth win in five games since the Christmas break.
Judah Makway led the charge with the game’s opening goal, the lone tally of the first 40 minutes. The Trail boy sealed the game with the empty net goal.
His first goal came on a quick one-time shot from the slot, while on the empty netter, he tapped in a shot from close range after newcomer Kailus Green hustled the length of the ice to recover a loose puck and make the centring pass.
Ethan Warrener’s rink-length rush and super short-side snipe in the opening seconds of the third period came on a power play, as the Smokies went 3-for-4 with the man advantage on the weekend.
But they gave up a shorthanded goal later in the third period, putting the game in doubt, until Ridge Dawson ripped a top shelf shot from the left-wing with just under four minutes to go.
The Bucks are coming off weekend losses to Merritt and Penticton and have dropped four of their last five games.
It’s a new look bunch of Bucks since the Smoke Eaters swept the home and home series against Cranbrook to open the second half.
They acquired Tyler Wishart and Patrick Murray from Powell River for veteran Luke Pfoh and sent Jaxon Fuder to the Kings for the playing rights to Noah Eyre who is now in the USHL.
Every game in the season series between Trail and Cranbrook has been close. Even Trail’s 3-0 win on Dec. 30 in Trail wasn’t certain until Mathieu Cobetto-Roy’s empty net goal. He had a four-game goal scoring streak snapped on Sun and had scored in seven of his last eight games.
Trail is also looking to close the gap to three points on the fourth-place Vernon Vipers, while the Bucks have a chance to close the six-point gap of the fifth-place Smoke Eaters.
Opening face-off from Western Financial Place is at 6 p.m. PT. The game can be heard on Mixlr and watched on FloHockey.