The intensity was there and so were the chances but the Smoke Eaters ran into a brick wall in the shape of Jacob Zacharewicz as they drop the opening game of the Kootenay Cup.
The Smoke Eaters came out flying putting 18 shots on the Bucks net in the opening 20 minutes. But it was an odd goal from Michael Hagen that opened the scoring for the Bucks at 4:23 of the first period. Hagen, with the puck behind the net threw it out front trying to find a teammate had the puck hit either Logan Terness or a player out front and found its way into the net for the opening goal. The Smoke Eaters would press with multiple powerplay opportunities and a few posts in the first but couldn’t beat Zacharewicz.
In the second the Bucks came out matching the Smoke Eaters intensity almost from the drop of the puck as the teams traded scoring chances for 17 minutes before Brendan Rogers scored his first of the preseason on a back door tap in to make it 2-0. In the third, again the Smoke Eaters pressed, but if it wasn’t Zacharewicz stopping the puck it was the five guys in front of him blocking shots and taking away the shooting lanes for the Smoke Eaters. The Bucks would put this game out of reach with their third goal. Nine minutes into the third period Rogers added his second after a lengthy shift by the Bucks in the offensive zone. The Smoke Eaters still pushed including a late powerplay but couldn’t solve Zacharewicz, who has allowed just one goal in his last five periods of play following the 7-4 defeat on opening night.
The Smoke Eaters will look to bounce back a level out the Kootenay Cup series Saturday night as they host the Bucks in part two of this weekend doubleheader.
1st – Jacob Zacharewicz 32/32 SV
2nd – Brendan Rogers 2G
3rd – Logan Terness 30/33 SV
Fortis Energy Player of the game – Zack Feaver