Welcome back to Cominco Arena!
The Trail Smoke Eaters make their return to home ice for the first time in almost two weeks.
They host the Victoria Grizzlies riding a three game winning streak following the 3-2 win in Cranbrook nine nights ago and the All-Star break.
The Trail troup has won five of their six games since Christmas behind improved defence and excellent goaltending.
Teagan Kendrick’s 45-save masterpiece against the Bucks means he has given up just two goals against per game since the break with a save percentage of close to .940. Add in Ryan Parker’s win against Prince George and the team’s goals against falls to 1.83 and the save percentage rises to about .945.
The Smokies have also killed off 18 straight penalties.
The defence will have to be diligent again against Victoria. Ethan Mann is out again, meaning with the absence of Adam Marshall and Max Potvin, the Smokies will be missing three top 20-year-old forwards. Mann had two goals and eight assists in his ten games back after returning from an upper body injury suffered during opening weekend.
Mathieu Cobetto-Roy has picked up the offensive slack over the last 16 games with 14 goals and 10 assists to jump into 10th in the BCHL points race.
The Smoke Eaters are facing a group of Grizzlies who sit fourth in the Coastal Conference just one point behind Nanaimo and Alberni Valley who are tied for second.
Their main gunner, Chase Pirtle is one point behind Cobetto-Roy in the points race and has a team-leading 19 goals and the Grizzlies have only given up 87 goals in 32 games for a goals against average of 2.70.
Trail is also in hot pursuit of fourth place Vernon in the Interior Conference, trailing by five points with the Vipers slithering into Cominco Arena Saturday night, which is also the annual Weiner Dog Race.
Puck drop against Victoria is set for 7 p.m. and fans can choose their seats at Tickets.TrailSmokeEaters.com.