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PREVIEW: Smoke Eaters Head to Merritt for mid week tilt

The Trail Smoke Eaters will make their way to Merritt for the first time since last seasons playoffs, looking for another two points.

Regular season series vs Merritt

October 4th @ South Okanagan Events Centre (BCHL Showcase) 7-1W (BOXSCORE)

November 27th @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena 7pm

January 3rd @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena 7pm

January 4th @ Cominco Arena 7pm

January 7th @ Cominco Arena 7pm

January 18th @ Cominco Arena 7pm

February 22nd @ Nicola Valley Memorial Arena

The Smoke Eaters will see Merritt  for just the second time this season, in what will be the first of five meetings over the next 17 games, which includes 4 in the month of January. The Smokies are coming off a hard fought win on Saturday night where goals from Tyler Ghirardosi, Max Kryski and Powell Connor were the difference in a 3-1 win. The Smoke Eaters now look to take two points on the road against the Centennials. The last time the Smoke Eaters saw Merritt was the BCHL Showcase in Penticton where they trounced the Cents 7-1. It was  a fairly comfortable afternoon in October for the Smokies, as they would score seven straight before Merritt got on the board in the final minutes of the game. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first with goals from Owen Ozar, then added goals from Kent Johnson, two from Mike Colella and one each for Jaden Senkoe and Colby Elmer. At the time the Smoke Eaters were also in the midst of their historic nine game win streak. The Smoke Eaters power play was strong again on the weekend going 2/6 while the penalty kill allowed one goal to Langley but shut out the top ranked power play of the Chiefs.

Smoke Eaters leading scorers:

Johnson (21-31-52)
Colella (13-25-38)
Ozar (12-25-37)
Ghirardosi (13-12-25)
DiMurro (5-20-25)

The Merritt Centennials are now a much different team than the one the Smoke Eaters faced at the showcase. With a new head coach, a long list of trades and a three game win streak has breathed new life into the Centennials season. Winners of their last 4/5 the Cents have pulled themselves into a playoff spot as the mid way mark of the season passes. The Cents topped the Silverbacks in a 6-5 thriller, fell to Victoria 6-3, then beat Surrey, Prince George and Wentatchee to earn themselves their first stretch of consistent play this season. This week will be a big test to see where the Centennials really are as after Wednesday nights game with the Smoke Eaters, they’ll take on the Penticton Vees in a home and home series on the weekend.

Merritt Centennials leading scorers:

Kagan (17-10-27)
Tkac (6-14-20)
Matsui (7-10-17)
Buono (1-16-17)
Manty (6-7-13)

Game time is 7pm as the Smoke Eaters look to take two points against the Centennials. Catch all the action live from Merritt on HockeyTV or Mixlr starting at 6:50pm with Ben Phillips.