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Game Day | TRA at MER

The playoff series that isn’t a playoff series continues tonight in Merritt.

The Smoke Eaters and Centennials meet for the third time in 13 nights to open a home-and-home series between the two Interior Conference rivals, pushing toward playoff preparedness.

For the Smokies, it’s a chance to win a third straight game, while the Centennials are looking to end a three game slide.

The Smoke Eaters prevailed 5-3 in their last head-to-head showdown in a grind-it-out playoff style performance by both teams on February 9th at Cominco Arena.

Adam Marshall sealed the victory with an empty net goal to go with two assists, while Mathieu Cobetto-Roy turned the momentum in Trail’s favour, banking an early second period shot in off goalie Karlis Mezsargs, who fanned on a pass from behind the Merritt net to tie the game 2-2.

Max Potvin’s power play goal late in the third period stood up as the winner as Trail avenged a 5-1 loss in Merritt six nights before.

Marshall leads all players with five points in the four-game season series on three goals and two assists, while Michael Felsing is the top producer for the Centennials with three goals and one helper.

It’s also been a homer’s series. Trail has won both games at Cominco Arena including a 4-2 decision on October 13th and the Centennials have captured both at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena including a 5-4 overtime victory on November 25th.

The Smokies continue to battle the injury bug; Christian Kim will sit out a second straight game after taking a first period knock to the upper body the last time these teams met. Ridge Dawson, who scored two goals and was first star in last Saturday’s 6-4 win over West Kelowna, is a game time decision after getting scuffed up this week in practice. Meanwhile, newly acquired defenceman, Isaac Fecteau could make his Smoke Eaters debut.

The Smokies are trying to catch fourth place Vernon. They trail the Vipers by three points, while Merritt is trying to reel in sixth-place Cranbrook, as they sit six points back with three games in hand on the Bucks.

The return match is Saturday night at Cominco Arena with both scheduled to get underway at 7:05 p.m. Good seats are still available at Tickets.TrailSmokeEaters.com and Early Bird pricing for the 2024-25 Season ends May 31st, 2024.

All Smoke Eaters games can be heard on Mixlr and watched on FloHockey.