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GAME PREVIEW: Smoke Eaters Open Season At Home vs. Warriors

PHOTO: Randy Emery

The Trail Smoke Eaters open up their 2018/19 regular season in the first half of a season-opening home-and-home set as they host the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday night at Cominco Arena.

Smoke Eaters vs. Warriors 2018/19 Regular Season Schedule:

Friday, September 7th @ Cominco Arena (7:00 PM)

Saturday, September 8th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Saturday, October 20th @ Cominco Arena (7:00 PM)

Saturday, January 5th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Friday, February 22nd @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Saturday, February 23rd @ Cominco Arena (7:00 PM)

The Smoke Eaters and Warriors played a total of 10 games head-to-head last season with six coming in the regular season before a sweep for the Smoke Eaters in the playoffs. Trail won the season series over West Kelowna a year ago with four wins in six games during the regular season, including victories in each of the three games of the series at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna.

The Smoke Eaters completed a four-game sweep of the Warriors in the opening round of the BCHL playoffs, en route to their run to the Interior Division Final. The Smoke Eaters opened the series with a 6-5 overtime victory before defeating the Warriors on home ice by a 6-2 score in Game #2. The series shifted to West Kelowna where Trail earned a 4-0 victory in Game #3 and wrapped up the series with a 6-3 win in Game #4.

Smoke Eaters Returning Players:

F – Braeden Tuck (’98)

F – Carter Jones (’99)

F – Mack Byers (’99)

F – Tyler Ghirardosi (’99)

F – Blake Sidoni (’98)

F – Levi Glasman (’99)

F – Spencer McLean (’98)

D – Trevor Zins (’98)

D – Kyle Chernenkoff (’98)

G – Tanner Marshall (’00)

G – Adam Marcoux (’98)

Trail is coming off one of their most successful seasons in recent years after advancing to the Interior Division Final last season before falling in five games to the Wenatchee Wild. The Smoke Eaters finished the 2017/18 campaign with a 32-21-4 record to place in 4th in the Interior Division. Trail swept West Kelowna in four games to open the playoffs before defeating the Penticton Vees in seven games to advance to the Interior Division Final, where the playoff run came to an end against the eventual league champions in five games.

11 players make their return from a season ago, including the team’s 3rd leading scorer in Levi Glasman. The Lacombe, Alberta native collected 24 goals and 28 assists for 52 points in his rookie season playing alongside Kale Howarth and Ross Armour. In fact, four of Trail’s top 10 point getters from a year ago return for another season with the Smokies in the likes of Glasman, Carter Jones, Tyler Ghirardosi and Braeden Tuck.

There was some news involving letters from Wednesday for the Smoke Eaters as the third-year veteran Tuck was named the team’s Captain for the 2018/19 season. Playing in 108 career BCHL games, the Calgary, Alberta native has amassed 24 goals and 65 points. Third-year defender Kyle Chernenkoff will don an ‘A’ for the Smoke Eaters this season, playing in 92 career games with 2 goals and 14 points while Pemberville, Ohio native and first-year Smoke Eater Hayden Rowan will also serve as an assistant captain this year. Rowan played with the Sioux City Musketeers a season ago, notching 2 goals and 10 points in 42 games played in the United States Hockey League (USHL).

It’s a rare occurrence to have one veteran goaltender remain in the lineup from last season but for the Smoke Eaters, they have the luxury of both netminders returning for a second season with the club. 20-year-old Adam Marcoux, who finished with a 12-10-1 record along with a 2.78 GAA and a .917 SV% after a mid-season trade from the Cowichan Valley Capitals. 18-year-old goalkeeper Tanner Marshall is also back in the Kootenay’s, posting a 9-6 record to go with a 4.51 GAA and a .875 SV% in 18 games last season.

The West Kelowna Warriors enter the 2018/19 season after finishing in 5th place in the Interior Division standings last year, compiling a 28-27-2 record before facing off against the Smoke Eaters in the first round of the playoffs. The 5th place standing for the Warriors was their worst since a 6th place finish during the 2011/12 season.

Warriors Returning Players:

F – Max Bulawka (‘01)

F – Matt Kowalski (’99)

F – Chase Dubois (’98)

F – Bennett Norlin (’98)

F – Cavin Tilsley (’98)

F – Parm Dhaliwal (’99)

F – Willie Reim (’99)

D – Jake Harrison (’99)

D – Wyatt Head (’99)

D – Cody Paivarinta (’98)

D – Garrett Ewert (’99)

Much like the Smoke Eaters, the Warriors also have 11 players returning from their squad a season ago including the likes of leading scorer Chase Dubois. Entering his third season with the club, the Williams Lake, BC native scored 21 goals and 57 points in 56 games last season and have five of the top 10 in scoring from 2016/17 back for another campaign in Dubois, Parm Dhaliwal, Jake Harrison, Willie Reim and Cavin Tilsley.

The Warriors have gone through a transition of ownership and have had a busy week off the ice. Geoff Grimwood was named Interim Head Coach and General Manager after long-time Head Coach and GM Rylan Ferster stepped away from the team. Grimwood was let go of his position on Monday before being reinstated on Thursday and will be behind the bench on Friday night at the helm of the Warriors.

West Kelowna will have a different look between the pipes this season as Connor Hopkins and Hayden Missler will be the tandem to tackle the 2018/19 season. Hopkins, Friday night’s starter, played 23 games at Belmont Hill High School in Massachusetts last year, posting a 2.59 GAA and a .921 SV%. Missler, a Wainwright, Alberta native played with the AJHL champion Spruce Grove Saints, played 21 games to go with a 2.44 GAA and a .902 SV%.

The Smoke Eaters and Warriors get their season going with an opening face-off of 7:00 PM at Cominco Arena in Trail. Tickets for tonight’s game are available at the Smoke Eaters Main Office as well as at the door ahead of puck drop.