PHOTO: Mike Hockley
The Trail Smoke Eaters will fight for their playoff lives and look to stave off elimination in Game #6 of their best-of-seven Interior Division Semi Final against the Vernon Vipers at the Trail Memorial Centre on Saturday night.
Smoke Eaters vs. Vipers 2018/19 Regular Season Schedule:
Saturday, September 15th @ Kal Tire Place (3-1 Smoke Eaters) (BOXSCORE)
Wednesday, October 17th @ Kal Tire Place (4-0 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)
Wednesday, November 14th @ Trail Memorial Centre (3-2 Smoke Eaters) (BOXSCORE)
Saturday, November 24th @ Kal Tire Place (1-0 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)
Wednesday, December 12th @ Trail Memorial Centre (3-2 Vipers/OT) (BOXSCORE)
Friday, February 1st @ Trail Memorial Centre (6-3 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)
Interior Division Semi Final Schedule:
Game #1: Friday, March 15th @ Kal Tire Place (3-1 Smoke Eaters) (BOXSCORE)
Game #2: Saturday, March 16th @ Kal Tire Place (5-4 Smoke Eaters/OT) (BOXSCORE)
Game #3: Tuesday, March 19th @ Trail Memorial Centre (4-3 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)
Game #4: Wednesday, March 20th @ Trail Memorial Centre (3-2 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)
Game #5: Friday, March 22nd @ Kal Tire Place (5-2 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)
Game #6: Saturday, March 23rd @ Trail Memorial Centre (7:00 PM)
*Game #7: Monday, March 25th @ Kal Tire Place (7:00 PM)
* – If Necessary
The Smoke Eaters come into the game looking to extend their season after a 5-2 defeat to the Vipers in Game #5 on Friday night at Kal Tire Place. Carter Jones and Hayden Rowan tallied the Smoke Eater goals in the game while Donovan Buskey stopped 15 of the 19 shots he faced in the game in his 4th loss of the playoffs before Adam Marcoux came on in relief and stopped all 5 shots he faced in the 3rd period.
Smoke Eaters Regular Season Leading Scorers:
Carter Jones (17-38-55)
Chase Stevenson (19-34-53)
Kent Johnson (20-26-46)
Trevor Zins (12-34-46)
Braeden Tuck (15-28-43)
Smoke Eaters Playoff Scoring Leaders:
Carter Jones (6-6-12)
Kent Johnson (6-4-10)
Braeden Tuck (4-5-9)
Tyler Ghirardosi (2-7-9)
Trevor Zins (2-7-9)
The scoring stretch for Carter Jones continued in Game #5 as he has tallied in every game of the series and leads the Interior Division Semi Final in points with 9 in 5 games. The Bemidji State University commit rides a six-game point streak in Saturday night with 5 goals and 5 assists for 10 points in that stretch of play and has points in all but two postseason games for the Smoke Eaters. The Hillyard, Washington native now sits in a tie for 7th in the BCHL in playoff goal scoring with 6 as well as points with 12.
Heading back on home ice for Game #6, the Smoke Eaters will look to their penalty kill to remain formidable as it has done very well over the course of the second half of the season at the Trail Memorial Centre. Trail has seen their PK run at a 22-for-23 clip over the last eight games and have not surrendered a power play goal against in each of their last 7 games, with the last goal coming against the penalty kill coming on February 9th against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
Offence from the defense has been a big key for Trail throughout the course of the season and Trevor Zins has provided that so far in the series. The St. Cloud State University commit has points in each of his last four games, tallying a goal and four assists for five points over that stretch. The Saint Michael, Minnesota native finished 4th in the regular season in points by a defenseman and ranks 2nd in that department through the playoffs.
The Vipers come into the game with a chance to advance to the Interior Division Final after a 5-2 victory in Game #5 at Kal Tire Place on Friday night. Teddy Wooding scored twice in the game while Connor Marritt, Matt Kowalski and Coleton Bilodeau added singles in the win for Vernon. Aidan Porter turned aside 22 of the 24 shots he faced in the game in his 7th win of the playoffs.
Vipers Regular Season Leading Scorers:
Matt Kowalski (13-30-43)
Teddy Wooding (21-19-40)
Josh Latta (19-21-40)
Connor Marritt (13-27-40)
Jack Judson (7-26-33)
Vipers Playoff Scoring Leaders:
Jagger Williamson (3-9-12)
Jesse Lansdell (4-6-10)
Matt Kowalski (5-3-8)
Jack Judson (3-5-8)
Michael Young (2-5-7)
Vernon has been very comfortable heading on the road in the postseason and have won each of their four games away from home thus far. The Vipers have outscored their opposition by an 11-7 margin over that span with each of the games being decided by a single goal. Vernon has been impressive playing away from Kal Tire Place dating back to the regular season, holding a record of 12-2 in their last 14 road games as well as outscoring their opponents by a count of 46-29 in that span.
Scoring the game winning goal on Friday was something that Matt Kowalski has been doing very well over the course of the postseason. The Vernon, BC native has three game winning markers in the playoffs, which ties him with the Wenatchee Wild’s Murphy Stratton for the BCHL lead in that regard. Kowalski has been providing a steady stream of offence as of late as well as he boasts points in three of his last four contests, garnering 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points in that stretch.
Points from the blue line have been a big factor for the Vipers in the series and part of that has come from Carver Watson chipping in with points in three of his last four games. The Appleton, Wisconsin native has four assists in his last four games along with bringing plenty of playoff experience, totaling 32 games played throughout the BCHL playoffs split between his time in Vernon and with the Chilliwack Chiefs during the 2017 postseason.
The Smoke Eaters and Vipers will take to the ice for Game #6 of their Interior Division Semi Final with Trail looking to extend their season further at 7:00 PM from the Trail Memorial Centre. Tickets are available at the Smoke Eaters Main Office or at the door ahead of the opening face-off.