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GAME PREVIEW: Smoke Eaters Host Wild In Interior Division Final Rematch

PHOTO: Jim Bailey/Trail Times

The Trail Smoke Eaters look to build off of their big performance on Friday night as they host the defending BCHL Champion Wenatchee Wild for a rematch of the 2018 Interior Division Final on Saturday night at the Trail Memorial Centre.

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Smoke Eaters vs. Wild 2018/19 Schedule:

Saturday, September 29th @ Trail Memorial Centre (7:00 PM)

Wednesday, October 24th @ Town Toyota Center (6:00 PM)

Friday, November 16th @ Trail Memorial Centre (7:00 PM)

Wednesday, December 19th @ Trail Memorial Centre (7:00 PM)

Friday, January 18th @ Town Toyota Center (7:05 PM)

Saturday, January 19th @ Town Toyota Center (7:05 PM)

The Smoke Eaters and Wild saw quite a bit of each other last season, playing 11 head-to-head matchups between the regular season and postseason. The Wild won four of the six games in the season set between the two teams before defeating the Smoke Eaters in five games in the Interior Division Final to advance to the Fred Page Cup Final.

Trail comes into Saturday night after an offensive outburst on Friday night, scoring seven times en route to a 7-3 victory over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Braeden Tuck had the big night, collecting two goals and two assists for four points along with Levi Glasman earning three assists on the night. Kent Johnson scored twice while Jeremy Smith and Mack Byers collected singles in the victory. Adam Marcoux made 30 saves on 33 shots for his fourth victory of the season.

Smoke Eaters Leading Scorers:

Braeden Tuck (5-7-12)

Levi Glasman (3-5-8)

Kent Johnson (4-3-7)

Jeremy Smith (3-4-7)

Trevor Zins (2-4-6)

Braeden Tuck emphatically extended his season-long point streak to seven games on Friday night with a four-point performance in the Smoke Eaters dominant victory over the Bulldogs. The Calgary, Alberta native now sits tied for the BCHL lead in points with 12, knotted in the top spot with West Kelowna Warriors forward Willie Reim.

It wasn’t only Tuck who kept his point streak alive as forward Kent Johnson also saw his lengthy point streak increase to six games after a two-goal effort on Friday. The Port Moody, BC native is tied for 7th in rookie scoring in the league while his line mate, Levi Glasman, now has three multi-point games this season after three assists a night ago.

The Smoke Eaters power play continued to roll as well, now having scored in each of the last six games and leading the league with 12 markers with an extra man this season. Mack Byers helped the Smoke Eaters tally their third shorthanded goal of the season, good for the top spot in the BC Hockey League, one ahead of the Coquitlam Express.

The Wenatchee Wild come into Saturday night’s action having dropped their last three games with the most recent being a 2-0 shutout loss on Friday night against the Vernon Vipers. The Wild outshot the Vipers 34-24 in the game but were 0/6 on the power play and failed to find the back of the net. Austin Park got the start in goal for Wenatchee, turning aside 22 of the 24 shots he faced in his second loss of the season.

Wild Leading Scorers:

Lucas Sowder (1-10-11)

Matt Gosiewski (5-5-10)

Christophe Fillion (5-4-9)

Cristophe Tellier (4-5-9)

Murphy Stratton (2-5-7)

The Wild bring back eight players from their team that made it all the way to the RBC Cup a season ago, including captain Lucas Sowder as well as forwards Murphy Stratton, Josh Arnold and Nathan Iannone. Defensemen Chad Sasaki, Jacob Modry and Drake Usher are also back this season while netminder Austin Park returns in between the pipes. Some BCHL experience was added over the summer as Matt Gosiewski made his way in from the Penticton Vees after a stint in the United States Hockey League (USHL).

Wenatchee got off to a hot offensive start and came in the way of a pair of Sherbrooke, Quebec natives as Christophe Fillion and Cristophe Tellier adjusted to West Coast life very well. Filliion’s strong play at the beginning of the season earned him the BCHL’s first Player of the Week award with both him and Tellier collecting 7 points in the opening three games, but have been held scoreless in each of the Wild’s last three contests.

It’s an odd start to the season, schedule wise, for Bliss Littler’s squad, not playing a single game on home soil with all of the Wild’s contests being on the road. Wenatchee does not return down south to host a game at the Town Toyota Center until October 12th against the Nanaimo Clippers, a span of 11 games on the road to begin the season. Games in Wenatchee have proven to be a tough place to play with the Wild owning a record of 24-4-0-1 in the Town Toyota Center a year ago.

The Smoke Eaters and Wild get the puck drop underway at 7:00 PM at the Trail Memorial Centre with tickets available for purchase at the Smoke Eaters Main Office. United Food Bank will be on hand to collect food donations on the concourse level in the arena.