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GAME PREVIEW: Smoke Eaters Conclude 2018 Home Schedule vs. Centennials

PHOTO: Garrett James/BCHL

The Trail Smoke Eaters conclude their 2018 schedule with their final home game of the season, opening a weekend home-and-home by hosting the Merritt Centennials at the Trail Memorial Centre on Friday night.

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Smoke Eaters vs. Centennials 2018/19 Schedule:

Saturday, November 17th @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena (4-2 Centennials) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, November 23rd @ Trail Memorial Centre (2-1 Smoke Eaters/OT) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, December 21st @ Trail Memorial Centre (7:00 PM)

Saturday, December 22nd @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena (7:00 PM)

Saturday, February 2nd @ Trail Memorial Centre (7:00 PM)

Saturday, February 16th @ Nicola Valley Memorial Centre (7:00 PM)

The Smoke Eaters and Centennials play the third game of their six-game season series tonight with each team winning a game thus far including Trail coming away with a 2-1 overtime win in their last meeting at the Trail Memorial Centre. Carter Jones opened the scoring in the game with the Centennials tying the contest in the 3rd period before Bryce Anderson potted the overtime winner. Adam Marcoux had a terrific night in goal, turning aside 33 of the 34 shots he faced in the game for the victory in between the pipes.

Trail enters Friday night’s affair looking to extend their winning stretch to three games after back-to-back home ice victories including a 5-2 win over the Wenatchee Wild on Wednesday night. Spencer McLean scored twice in the game while Braeden Tuck, Carter Jones and Owen Ozar added singles in the Smoke Eaters win. Adam Marcoux turned away 28 of the 30 shots he faced in the game in his 12th victory of the season.

Smoke Eaters Leading Scorers:

Chase Stevenson (14-18-32)

Carter Jones (12-19-31)

Braeden Tuck (11-18-29)

Kent Johnson (11-14-25)

Trevor Zins (6-18-24)

The final game at the Trail Memorial Centre of the calendar year takes place tonight for the Smoke Eaters, who have had a very productive 2018 on home ice. The Smoke Eaters hold a 22-10-2-1 record in their home building through the calendar year, including playoffs, in 35 games played during the year at the Trail Memorial Centre. Trail also averaged an attendance of 2,141 over those 35 home games in 2018 including an average of 1,848 fans during the 17 home games in the 2018/19 season.

Smoke Eaters captain Braeden Tuck has continued his strong season in the offensive ranks with points in three of his last four games, including picking up his 11th goal of the season on Wednesday night against the Wild. The Sacred Heart University commit has earned a goal and two assists over his last four games and sits 3rd in team scoring with 29 points as well as tied with Kent Johnson and Hayden Rowan for 3rd in goal scoring with his 11 tallies on the year.

The Merritt Centennials come into Friday night’s matchup holding a 21-13-1-1 record and sitting in 4th place in the Interior Division after a pair of defeats last weekend including a wild 6-5 loss to the Powell River Kings on Saturday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. Nick Granowicz, Christian Sabin, Nicholas Wicks, Brendan Schneider and Matthew Kopperud each scored in the game while Vincent Duplessis stopped 34 of the 40 shots he faced in his 7th loss of the season.

Centennials Leading Scorers:

Bradley Cocca (16-32-48)

Nick Granowicz (21-20-41)

Mathieu Gosselin (14-23-37)

Nicholas Wicks (10-27-37)

Matthew Kopperud (17-14-31)

A pair of Centennials make their return to the team tonight as forward Mathieu Gosselin and Head Coach & General Manager Joe Martin come back with a bit of hardware. Both were away with Team Canada West at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Bonnyville, Alberta where the team won the bronze medal in a 3-1 victory over the Czech Republic. The Quebec, Quebec native Gosselin earned a goal and two assists for three points in six games with Team Canada West while Martin won his second straight medal after collecting gold as part of the coaching staff in 2017.

Merritt captain and third-year forward Nicholas Wicks has been on quite the offensive tear over the last month, coming into tonight’s game riding an eight-game point streak. The Delta, BC native has registered five goals and eight assists for thirteen points over the last eight contests including a hat-trick to begin the month of December against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The University of Alaska-Anchorage commit has earned the 4th spot in Cents scoring and is 2nd on the team with 27 assists.

Another Centennial forward who has been streaking offensively is Matthew Kopperud, who is in his second season with the team. The Denver, Colorado product has points in each of his last five games, scoring five goals and five assists for ten points as well as scoring in four straight contests. The Arizona State University commit has multi-point games in four of his last five games and has set a career high in goals and points through his first 27 games of the season.

The Smoke Eaters and Centennials drop the puck on the final home game of the year 2018 at 7:00 PM from the Trail Memorial Centre. Tickets are available for purchase at the Smoke Eaters Main Office as well as at the door ahead of the opening face-off.