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GAME PREVIEW: Smoke Eaters Eyeing Victory Heading To Duncan vs. Capitals

PHOTO: Mike Hockley

The Trail Smoke Eaters continue on their three-game weekend with their one-and-only trip to Duncan to face-off against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Saturday night at the Island Savings Centre.

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Smoke Eaters vs. Capitals 2018/19 Schedule:

Friday, October 12th @ Trail Memorial Centre (6-4 Smoke Eaters) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, November 3rd @ Island Savings Centre (6:00 PM)

Trail will be looking for the season sweep of the Capitals after defeating them by a 6-4 score at the Trail Memorial Centre in mid-October. Hayden Rowan collected his first career BCHL hat trick in the game while Tyler Ghirardosi, Michael Hodge and Braeden Tuck scored singles. Adam Marcoux started the game, making 11 saves on 13 shots before Tanner Marshall came on in relief and stopped 4 of the 6 shots thrown his way for the win in goal.

The Smoke Eaters come into Saturday night’s affair after a hard-fought 5-2 loss to the Victoria Grizzlies at The Q Centre on Friday night. Carter Jones and Bryce Anderson had the goals for Trail in the game as they battled from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits but could not find the equalizer in the 3rd period before Victoria scored twice into the empty net to ice the game. Tanner Marshall started in between the pipes for the Smoke Eaters, turning aside 27 of the 30 shots he faced in the game in his 4th loss of the season.

Smoke Eaters Leading Scorers:

Braeden Tuck (8-11-19)

Kent Johnson (9-8-17)

Trevor Zins (5-12-17)

Carter Jones (5-11-16)

Diarmad DiMurro (0-15-15)

The Smoke Eaters will look to 20-year-old netminder Adam Marcoux to get them back in the win column on Saturday night. The Calgary, Alberta native has posted a 5-8 record to go along with a 3.53 GAA and a .884 SV% this season in 15 games and will be making the start tonight in a familiar place after playing in 45 career games with the Capitals before being acquired by the Smoke Eaters in the middle of last season.

Trail has had some strong success over their foes from Duncan, having taken three of a possible four points against them during the 2017/18 campaign and have collected a point in each of their last three games against the Capitals. “The Big Stick” has been a place of even more success for the Smoke Eaters, winning each of their last four games at the Island Savings Centre, outscoring the Caps 24-12 in that span while also collecting 7 goals in each of their last three games in Duncan.

Special teams could play a big part in tonight’s game and Trail could have the advantage in that department. The Smoke Eaters come into the game with the BCHL’s number one power play, operating at 21.6% this season and the team has stayed very disciplined, being shorthanded only 64 times which ranks them in 2nd behind just the Powell River Kings (62) for the top spot in the discipline category.

The Cowichan Valley Capitals enter the night with a 4-13-2-1 record after falling in overtime to the Nanaimo Clippers on Friday night at the Frank Crane Arena. Kolten Cousins, Paul Selleck, Adam Conquest and Peter Tabor all scoring in regulation for the Caps, falling just short of the victory. Blake Wood stopped 32 of the 37 shots thrown his way in his 5th loss of the season in between the pipes for Cowichan Valley.

Capitals Leading Scorers:

David Melaragni (3-10-13)

Adam Conquest (5-6-11)

Paul Selleck (6-4-10)

Nike Esposito-Selivanov (5-5-10)

Vincent Millette (2-7-9)

Although the Capitals sit 16th in the league in goal scoring this season, forward Adam Conquest has been a threat to watch for offensively. The Milford, Michigan native has collected points in each of his last three games and has points in five of his last six contests. Conquest has a goal and three assists for four points on this current stretch, including a goal and an assist effort on Friday night in the overtime loss to Nanaimo.

As mentioned, special teams may come into play, as it always does, and the Capitals have seen success and a bit of a downfall at both sides of the puck. The Caps have converted on the power play in each of their last two games, going 2/11 while also surrendering a goal against on the penalty kill in each of their last five games. Cowichan Valley ranks at the top of the league in shorthanded chances against, going to the penalty kill 131 times this season and ranking 10th at 81.7% on the PK.

It’s the first time since October 20th that the Capitals will play in front of their home fans, having seen time on the road over the last four games. Cowichan Valley has collected three of their four wins this season when on home ice, holding opponents to an Island Division-best 23 goals against this season, which ranks them 4th in the league in that regard.

The Smoke Eaters and Capitals get things going at 7:00 PM from the Island Savings Centre tonight in Duncan. The pre-game show will air ten minutes before puck drop at 6:50 PM with a free audio stream at mixlr.com/trail-smoke-eaters as well as pay-per-view at HockeyTV.com with the Voice of the Smoke Eaters, Trevor Miller.