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GAME PREVIEW: Smoke Eaters Open New Year With Visit From Eagles

PHOTO: Garrett James/BCHL

The Trail Smoke Eaters return from a 12-day holiday break and begin their drive for the playoffs with welcoming the Mainland Division’s Surrey Eagles to the Trail Memorial Centre on Friday night for their first game of 2019.

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Smoke Eaters vs. Eagles 2018/19 Schedule:

Sunday, November 4th @ South Surrey Arena (4-3 Smoke Eaters/SO) (BOXSCORE)

Friday, January 4th @ Trail Memorial Centre (7:00 PM)

The Smoke Eaters and Eagles play the finale of their two-game season series tonight with Trail earning a 4-3 shootout victory back in early November at the South Surrey Arena. Owen Ozar, Braeden Tuck and Carter Jones scored in regulation as the Smoke Eaters battled from a 3-1 deficit before Ozar and Kent Johnson scored in the shootout to help Trail to the win. Adam Marcoux made 18 saves on 18 shots in a relief appearance to pick up the victory in between the pipes.

Trail comes into Friday night’s action with a record of 14-19-5-3 and suffered a 5-3 loss to the Merritt Centennials on December 23rd at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena before heading on the Christmas break. Kent Johnson, Powell Connor and Diarmad DiMurro each tallied in the game for the Smoke Eaters while 16-year-old Logan Terness got the start in goal, turning aside 33 of the 38 shots he faced in his 2nd loss of the season.

Smoke Eaters Leading Scorers:

Chase Stevenson (14-23-37)

Carter Jones (12-20-32)

Braeden Tuck (11-19-30)

Kent Johnson (12-14-26)

Trevor Zins (7-18-25)

After a strong month with the club, goaltender Logan Terness returned to his Major Midget team in the Vancouver North East Chiefs while also committing to the Smoke Eaters for the 2019/20 season. Trail added to the blue paint by signing 19-year-old netminder Chad Cromar from the Aldergrove Kodiaks of the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL). In 12 games with the Kodiaks, the 6’2”, 175-pound goaltender held a 7-5 record with a 3.18 GAA and a .903 SV% along with a shutout. He’s not stranger to the BCHL either, getting into 16 games with the Langley Rivermen over the course of 2016-2018, compiling a 5-8-1 record along with a 3.46 GAA and an .888 SV%.

Forward Chase Stevenson looks to have his success translate from the end of 2018 into the New Year as he comes off of being named an honour mention of the BCHL’s Player of the Week in the final week of the year. The University of New Hampshire commit has points in three of his last four games, including all of those being multi-point contests with a goal and seven assist for eight points in those four games and matches up against a team he started the season with in the Eagles.

With the 12-day layoff comes an opportunity to get healthier and the Smoke Eaters are able to get back a valuable piece on their backend in Kyle Chernenkoff. The Crescent Valley, BC native has registered a pair of assists in 27 games with 32 penalty minutes and has been out of the lineup since November 24th with an injury, a span of 11 games before making his return tonight.

The Surrey Eagles enter Friday night’s affair with a 8-26-1-2 record and sit in 5th place in the Mainland Division standings, looking to bounce back after a 3-0 loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings at the South Surrey Arena on December 21st to end their 2018 calendar year. Cayden Bailey had a big game for the Eagles, turning aside 41 of the 44 shots he faced in the contest in his 10th loss of the season.

Eagles Leading Scorers:

Ty Westgard (9-24-33)

Jeremy Smith (9-11-20)

Matthew McKim (4-15-19)

Corey Clifton (4-14-18)

Holden Katzalay (10-7-17)

The Eagles sit 16th in the league in goal scoring with 94 goals but get a big piece of their offence back in the lineup tonight as captain Ty Westgard gets back in having not played since November 4th. The Surrey, BC native was on a solid run before missing time with an injury, scoring 4 goals and 8 assists for 12 points over a 6-game point streak with his last matchup being against the Smoke Eaters on November 4th.

Surrey has had strong goaltending since the arrival of 19-year-old Cayden Bailey, who has faced a lot of rubber in his tenure with the Eagles. The Estero, Florida native has faced a total of 545 shots in 879 minutes this season, averaging 37 shots faced per game. The 6’0”, 170-pound netminder most recently came off of a 41-save effort before the Christmas break in a matchup against the Prince George Spruce Kings.

The Smoke Eaters return to action after their 12-day holiday break with a matchup against the Mainland Division’s Surrey Eagles on home ice. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM from the Trail Memorial Centre on another “Retro Night” in Trail with tickets available for purchase at the Smoke Eaters Main Office as well as at the door ahead of the opening face-off.