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GAME PREVIEW: Smoke Eaters Visit Warriors In First Road Game Of 2019

PHOTO: Mike Hockley

The Trail Smoke Eaters conclude their weekend of play with their first road game in 2019 as they head to the Central Okanagan to face-off against the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.



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

Friday, September 7th @ Cominco Arena (4-3 Warriors/OT) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, September 8th @ Royal LePage Place (6-4 Smoke Eaters) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, October 20th @ Cominco Arena (4-3 Warriors) (BOXSCORE)

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 meet for the fourth time of their six-game season series tonight with West Kelowna winning two of the three meetings thus far, including handed Trail a 4-3 loss in their last visit to the Trail Memorial Centre in mid-October.  Mack Byers, Bryce Anderson and Kent Johnson each scored in the game for the Smoke Eaters while former netminder Tanner Marshall was in between the pipes, stopping 19 of the 23 shots he faced.

Trail comes into Saturday night’s tilt after a dominating performance against the Surrey Eagles, firing 56 shots on goal in a 4-3 victory on Friday night at the Trail Memorial Centre. Chase Stevenson, Owen Ozar and Trevor Zins tallied before Tyler Ghirardosi scored the game winning goal with 41 seconds remaining in the 3rd period. Adam Marcoux turned aside 18 of the 21 shots he faced in the game in his 13th win of the season.

Smoke Eaters Leading Scorers:

Chase Stevenson (15-23-38)

Carter Jones (12-21-33)

Braeden Tuck (11-20-31)

Kent Johnson (12-16-28)

Trevor Zins (8-19-27)

Giving the Smoke Eaters their second goal a night ago, forward Owen Ozar is starting to find his groove with goals in three of his last four games and has earned points in four of his last five contests. The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native has three goals and two assists for five points in that four-game span while scoring in three of his last four matchups.

Royal LePage Place has served as a home away from home for the Smoke Eaters over the last two seasons, having won seven straight games in West Kelowna including the postseason. There have been no issues in getting offence going for the Smoke Eaters in West Kelowna, outscoring the Warriors by a 36-15 count over those seven contests including tying their highest goal total of the season in their last visit to begin the season on September 8th in a 6-4 win.

The 56 shots the Smoke Eaters put toward the Surrey goal on Friday night rank second in the league for most shots in a game, sitting behind the Prince George Spruce Kings who had 58 shots on goal in a game against the Victoria Grizzlies on October 5th. The 21 shots the Smoke Eaters generated in the 2nd period were the 5th most in the league in a middle stanza this season.

The West Kelowna Warriors enter play on Saturday with a 22-16-0-1 record and sit 4th in the Interior Division after a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Vernon Vipers on Friday night at Kal Tire Place. Bennett Norlin, Parm Dhaliwal and Chase Dubois each tallied in the game for the Warriors while Connor Hopkins stopped 38 of the 42 shots thrown his way in his 12th loss of the season.

Warriors Leading Scorers:

Mike Hardman (27-23-50)

Chase Dubois (17-30-47)

Willie Reim (17-26-43)

Parm Dhaliwal (11-23-34)

Lucas Cullen (20-12-32)

Union College commit Mike Hardman has made his opening season in the BCHL a good one, leading his team in scoring and currently comes into tonight riding a 6-game point streak. The Hanover, Massachusetts native has collected 5 goals and 5 assists for 10 points over that stretch and sits 3rd in the league in points with his 49 while his 27 goals ranks him 2nd behind Powell River’s Ryan Brushett (28).

Another Warrior to have vaulted his way high into the BCHL scoring race is third-year forward Chase Dubois, who extended his point streak to nine games on Friday night in Vernon with his goal. The Williams Lake, BC native has compiled 7 goals and 11 assists for 18 points over that 9-game stretch and has moved into 5th in league scoring with 47 points in 40 games this season, 10 points off of his total from a season ago.

Despite not having much success against the Smoke Eaters on home ice in the last seven head-to-head matchups, the Warriors will look to keep their recent strong play at Royal LePage Place going. The Tribe have won three of their last four games in West Kelowna, outscoring their opponents 20-11 in that span, scoring no fewer than four goals in each of their last three victories on home ice.

The Smoke Eaters and Warriors will drop the puck at Royal LePage Place and the fourth meeting of the season at 7:00 PM on mixlr.com/trail-smoke-eaters as well as HockeyTV.com. The pre-game show gets underway at 6:50 PM with the Voice of the Smoke Eaters, Trevor Miller.