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GAME PREVIEW: Smokies Travel To West Kelowna In Search Of First ‘W’

PHOTO: Julie Pringle/Snap Photography

The Trail Smoke Eaters look to get into the win column for the 2018/19 campaign as they make their way to the Okanagan to complete a home-and-home set 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 (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 saw a two-goal lead evaporate in their season opener against the Warriors a night ago at the Trail Memorial Centre in the first game of the regular season. Captain Braeden Tuck tied the game with a shorthanded marker before giving Trail a lead with a 4-on-4 goal before Hayden Rowan pushed the Smokies ahead by two. The Warriors came right back and tied the game before winning at the midway point of overtime.

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)

Braeden Tuck had himself quite an opening night as the three-year veteran registered a pair of goals in the overtime setback. Tuck scored shorthanded in the 1st period before tacking on a 4-on-4 goal in the 2nd frame and was his 6th multi-goal game of his career. The Calgary, Alberta native had 5 two-goal games a season ago before picking up his first in the season opener last night.

Michael Hodge also had himself a nice little night, compiling a pair of assists and was just inches away from a goal all night long. Tuck and Hodge were the only Smoke Eaters to hit the scoresheet twice with Hayden Rowan scoring once and Trevor Zins, Jimmy Darby, Jeremy Smith and Blake Sidoni added helpers.

The Smoke Eaters head out on the road for the first time this season and will look to add on to a very respectable 14-11-3 record in visiting arenas in 2018/19. Trail has had some success in Royal LePage Place, having won each of their last five meetings with the Warriors in West Kelowna, including Games #3 and #4 of last season’s playoffs.

The Warriors enter play with a 1-0-0-0 record after their overtime victory in Trail last season. Mike Hardman, Mason Richey and Cody Paivarinta each collected their first BCHL goals while Wyatt Head earned the overtime winner as the Warriors opened their season with a victory.

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)

West Kelowna looks to try and open the season with a pair of victories, something they could not finish off a year ago. The Warriors won the first half of the identical home-and-home set against the Smoke Eaters by a 4-3 score before falling 4-0 on home ice. West Kelowna has won each of their last five season openers, dating back to the beginning of the 2013/14 season.

Returning defender Wyatt Head found the back of the net in overtime and was the only Warrior to come away with a pair of points on the night. The offense was spread around in a gutsy effort with just 9 forwards dressed for Friday’s game, the Warriors used the strength of 31 saves from Connor Hopkins to help ease the load. One player does make his way back into the lineup as Willie Reim draws back in after a suspension saw him sit out opening night.

The Smoke Eaters and Warriors get things going on the second of a home-and-home at 7:00 PM with the face-off coming a bit after that given that it is the home opener for West Kelowna. Pre-game is set for 6:50 PM on mixlr.com/trail-smoke-eaters or available on HockeyTV.com.