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PREVIEW: Red hot Smoke Eaters return home to face high flying Clippers

A streak will come to an end Friday night at Cominco as the Trail Smoke Eaters return home to face the Nanaimo Clippers. It’s a battle of the the two hottest teams in the BCHL as the Smoke Eaters (8-5-1) on an 8 game winning streak take on the Clippers (9-3-0-1) who come in with a 7 game win streak. Puck drop is at 7pm in a game you won’t want to miss.

Regular season vs the Clippers

October 18th @ Cominco Arena 7pm

November 16th @ Frank Crane Arena 7pm

Last season 0-0-1-1/ Last five years 3-3-1-1

The Trail Smoke Eaters return home sporting a flashy eight game win streak, a streak that currently ties the franchise record for most consecutive wins set back in the 97/98 season. The Smoke Eaters have picked up wins against West Kelowna, two against Victoria and Prince George, Merritt, Cowichan and Surrey since their slow start to the year. The Smokies come into the game with the hottest streak in the league and the two hottest players in Kent Johnson and Mike Colella. Johnson and Colella sit 1&2 in league scoring and have been on a tear during this win streak. Both players along with Diarmad DiMurro extended their point streaks to eight games following Sunday’s shootout win over Surrey. Johnson with 26 points has had 24 of those in the last eight games averaging three points per game. Colella is also riding a hot streak that sees him have 20 points in his last eight games.

The Smoke Eaters won two games last weekend where they were trailing going into the third period, something the team had not yet done early on in the season. But they showed grit and determination to fight back and pull out a victory. Logan Terness took all three wins on the weekend after coming into Friday’s game in Cowichan to force a shootout, and winning both games against Victoria and Surrey. Terness is one of the hottest goalies in the BCHL right now. He got an honourable mentionin the BCHL Player of the Week for his efforts on the weekend. Terness in three games played made 76 saves/79 shots, a remarkable .962SV% and a 1.22GAA along with a first star nomination on Sunday. The 17-year-old from Burnaby, BC is 4th among all goalies with a 1.84 GAA and sits second with a .947SV% behind Friday’s opponent Jordan Naylor for the Clippers.

The special teams aspect of the Smoke Eaters game is also on fire. Another statistic that has skyrocketed over the past eight games is the teams power play, currently sitting second in the league with 23.8 percent over 14 games. However the last eight game sees them working at a 35% rate going 14/40. A power play that went 1/23 in the opening 6 games has become the deadliest in the league. They’ll be in tough tonight though as the second ranked penalty kill belongs to the Clippers at 91.8%

Smoke Eaters top scorers

Kent Johnson: 9G – 17A – 26PTS

Mike Colella: 11G – 13A – 24PTS

Owen Ozar: 7G – 9A – 16PTS

Diarmid DiMurro: 4G – 11A – 15PTS

Colby Elmer: 3G – 4A – 7PTS

The Nanaimo Clippers come to Trail riding a hot streak of their own winning seven in a row, with their last loss coming back on September 22nd to the Penticton Vees when they lost 4-2. The Clippers have shutout Powell River twice, beaten Victoria, Surrey, Prince George, Merritt and Langley. They are also kicking off a very tough three game road trip The sees them go from Trail to Penticton on Saturday night and then to Salmon Arm on Sunday afternoon. It will be no easy task for the Clippers playing the top three teams in the Interior division.

The Clippers are a team that haven’t scored a lot this season but they also haven’t allowed many goals either. The Clippers rank 12th in the league in terms of goals for with 39, the lowest of the top teams in the BCHL. They also sit tied for first in the fewest goals allowed with Coquitlam. The Clippers sport a remarkable 1.92 GAA with¬† 25 goals allowed through 13 games. Naylor and Zachary Bennett have split the task so far with six games each. However Naylor has two shutouts and leads the league in both SV% at 0.953 and GAA with 1.48.

The Clippers have also been riding the hot hand of Ethan Scardina who leads the team in points. Scardina who led the Clippers last year with 56 points has continued to lead the way early with eight goals and nine assists in 12 games. His line mates Kyler Kovich and Joshua Bourne have also helped lead the way for the Clippers as one of the more dangerous lines in the league, combining for 40 points as a trio.

Nanaimo Clippers top scorers

Ethan Scardina: 8G – 9A – 17PTS

Joshua Bourne: 7G – 6A – 13PTS

Kyler Kovich: 6G – 4A – 10PTS

Trevor LeDonne: 2G – 7A – 9PTS

Robby Drazner: 1G – 8A – 9PTS

Puck drop is set for 7pm at Cominco Arena as the Smoke Eaters look to set a new franchise record for most consecutive wins. The pre game show with Ben Phillips and Rob Squires starts at 6:50 with coaches interviews on HockeyTV and Mixlr.¬† Tickets for tonight’s game are $14 for adults, $5 for youth and kids 12 and under get in free.

Remember the first 750 fans in the door get a free pack of 2019/2020 Trail Smoke Eaters Hockey cards! Come out and make some noise tonight at Cominco!