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Preview: Smoke Eaters Begin Pod Season With Tilt Against the Vees

A year later, on what could have been the Interior Division final between the Smoke Eaters and the Penticton Vees, these two teams will face each other in the 2020/21 BCHL Season opener at the South Okanagan Events Centre at 7pm tonight. Four and a half months since they last played a game, the Smoke Eater will have a chance to showcase all their hard work in this abbreviated season.

Season Series Vs Penticton (All games at the SOEC)

Apr. 2 Penticton @ Trail 7:00 pm PDT
Apr. 8 Trail @ Penticton 7:00 pm PDT
Apr. 11 Penticton @ Trail 4:00 pm PDT
Apr. 14 Trail @ Penticton 7:00 pm PDT
Apr. 17 Penticton @ Trail 6:00 pm PDT
Apr. 23 Trail @ Penticton 7:00 pm PDT
Apr. 26 Trail @ Penticton 7:00 pm PDT
Apr. 29 Trail @ Penticton 7:00 pm PDT
May. 2 Penticton @ Trail 4:00 pm PDT
May. 8 Penticton @ Trail 6:00 pm PDT

Chase Dafoe, recently named team captain, along with 24 of his teammates will begin their five week season against the Penticton Vees tonight, looking to start the season the right way. While it’s not your typical season in terms of the end goal (playoffs), the team will still head to Penticton looking to showcase their very best, and possibly leave the South Okanagan on top of the Pod standings. As mentioned on the Smoke Eaters podcast this week, the depth of this squad and the quality of its depth will prove pivotal as the season goes on. New additions like Ryan Helliwell and Kalen Szeto bring with them a wealth of BCHL experience that will help this young team in the early stages. Backed by strong goaltending in Logan Terness and Cayden Hamming, the Smoke Eaters have a strong tandem that will be hard to beat. The scoring threats are also plentiful with Connor Michaud showing in the preseason that he can score at this level, Justin Ross, Jaden Senkoe and Dafoe could prove to be a dominant force for the Smoke Eaters should that line stick together. While the depth of Noah Wakeford, Coalson Wolford, Szeto and Quinn Disher, just to name a few, will help provide that secondary scoring. It will be a strong first test for the Smoke Eaters. Expect a lot of energy on both sides early on and a bit of rust as both sides get back into game form.

The Vees, like the Smoke Eaters, are thin when it comes to finding returning players, with just five on their roster from last season. However Fred Harbinson and his staff have helped fill that void by acquiring multiple assets with BCHL experience. Fin Williams was acquired in the summer from Prince George. Luc Wilson was Cowichan’s top goal scorer before he was dealt to the Vees in the summer. The Vees also grabbed BCHL vets in Tom Richter, Ryan Upson and Ben Wozney. While the Vees may have lost Yaniv Perets to the NCAA mid season, they still bring three very capable goaltenders to back stop the team for this shortened season. In the month where the Vees could have been playing (or preparing) for the Centennial cup, they’ll instead be putting their best foot forward for 20 games and planning for next season.

It’s the season opener, Penticton against Trail, as it could have been a year ago. Tonight’s game will be available on BCHLTV (formerly known as HockeyTV), Shaw Spotlight and on Mixlr. Ben Phillips will have the call starting at 6:45pm with the Teck Trail Pre game Report.