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GAME PREVIEW: Smoke Eaters Entertain Grizzlies In Sunday Matinee In Trail

PHOTO: Damon James/BCHL

The Trail Smoke Eaters conclude their weekend of home ice play and look for three of a possible four points as they host the Victoria Grizzlies for their only Sunday matinee at the Trail Memorial Centre this season.

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Smoke Eaters vs. Grizzlies 2018/19 Schedule:

Friday, November 2nd @ The Q Centre (5-2 Grizzlies) (BOXSCORE)

Sunday, January 13th @ Trail Memorial Centre (3:00 PM)

The Smoke Eaters and Grizzlies conclude their two-game season series this afternoon with Victoria handing Trail a 5-2 loss in early November at The Q Centre in the teams’ first meeting. Carter Jones and Bryce Anderson scored for the Smoke Eaters in an even game through 50 minutes before the Grizzlies scored three late goals for the win. Former Smoke Eaters netminder Tanner Marshall started in goal, stopping 27 of the 30 shots he faced in the loss.

Trail comes into Sunday’s matinee look for points in four straight games after a 4-3 overtime setback to the Nanaimo Clippers on Friday night at the Trail Memorial Centre. Hayden Rowan and Diarmad DiMurro scored 1st period goals before Tyler Ghirardosi forced overtime with a 3rd period marker with the Clippers finding the goal in the extra frame. Adam Marcoux turned aside 27 of the 31 shots he faced in the game in his 19th loss of the season.

Smoke Eaters Leading Scorers:

Chase Stevenson (16-23-39)

Carter Jones (12-24-36)

Kent Johnson (15-19-34)

Trevor Zins (10-22-32)

Braeden Tuck (11-20-31)

16-year-old forward Kent Johnson has continued his strong rookie season is riding a four-game point streak into Sunday’s action with three of the last four being multi-point efforts. The University of Michigan commit has scored four goals while adding five assists for nine points over the past four games including his first career BC Hockey League hat trick coming last Saturday in West Kelowna in an 8-4 win over the Warriors.

Another Smoke Eater who has been seeing good numbers offensively as of late is forward Tyler Ghirardosi, who enters play on a three-game point streak. The Quinnipiac University commit has scored in each of those three contests along with three assists for six points in that span with his goal in the 3rd period last night sending the game to overtime.

Catching fire is something the Smoke Eaters power play has done as well over the last several games, scoring a goal on the man advantage in six of their last seven games. Trail’s power play has risen to 4th best in the BCHL at 21.2% but will have a stiff test on Sunday with Victoria checking in with the league’s top ranked penalty kill.

The Victoria Grizzlies enter Sunday afternoon leading the Island Division with a 26-13-0-2 record and finish off a three-game weekend road trip after a tight 3-1 victory over the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday night at the Town Toyota Center. Alex Newhook, Kenny Johnson and Jordan Guiney scored the goals for the Grizzlies in the win while Kurtis Chapman had a big night, turning aside 33 of the 34 shots he faced in the game in his 19th win of the season.

Grizzlies Leading Scorers:

Alex Newhook (22-43-65)

Alexander Campbell (15-32-47)

Carter Berger (22-22-44)

Riley Hughes (18-22-40)

Jeremie Bucheler (6-30-36)

Projected first round NHL Draft pick Alex Newhook has been tearing up the league this season, leading the BCHL in assists with 43 and points with 65 in 37 games played this season to help the Grizzlies to sit 2nd in the league in goals for with 161. The Boston College commit comes into Sunday afternoon with a six-game point streak, scoring 4 goals and adding 8 assists for 12 points in that span and scored the opening goal on Saturday night in Wenatchee.

Second year defender Carter Berger has been a scoring presence from the back end for Victoria, leading all defencemen with an impressive 22 goals this season. The University of Connecticut commit has points in six of his last seven games including a stretch of scoring in 5 straight games, collecting 8 goals over that span that earned him the BCHL’s Player of the Week honour last week.

Special teams has been a big key to getting Victoria to the top spot in the Island Division and the Grizzlies have a gluttony of skilled players while also provided plenty of defence. The Grizzlies sit 2nd in the league in power play percentage at 24.1%, sitting just behind the Powell River Kings for the top spot while they hold the BCHL lead in penalty kill percentage, holding the fort at 86.8% as well as going 6/7 on Saturday in Wenatchee in their victory.

The Smoke Eaters and Grizzlies drop the puck at 3:00 PM from the Trail Memorial Centre for the rare Sunday matinee. Tickets can be purchased at the Smoke Eaters Main Office as well as at the door ahead of the opening face-off.