The Smoke Eaters made their first trip of the year to Cranbrook, as they wrapped up a home and home series with the Bucks on Saturday night at Western Financial place, that saw the Bucks take a 3-1 victory and leave the Smoke Eaters winless to open the preseason.
That being said the Smoke Eaters will feel like they deserved to get more out of this game than the 3-1 loss they were handed. They outshot the Bucks 20-9 in the opening frame and if it wasn’t for Nathan Airey the Smoke Eaters could have been up a couple in enemy territory. On the other side, despite facing just 9 shots in the first period, Evan Fradette was very good for the Smoke Eaters, he’d go on to stop all 23 shots he’d face before the Smoke Eaters made their goalie switch at the halfway mark. The Smoke Eaters would open the scoring in the second period on a forced offensive zone turnover. Zach Michaelis would finish the play off after Connor Michaud found Brady Hunter coming in off the bench, who then fed a wide open Michaelis, who put the puck into the open cage. The Smoke Eaters then would let three straight get past them. The first came after a scramble at the side of the Smokies net that Callum Tung was unable to cover up. That led to Tyson Dyck shoveling the puck in to a open cage that brought the 700+ Cranbrook fans, who were witnessing their team in person for the first time, to their feet. Just shy of two minutes later the Bucks would score again through Nathan Fox who scored a beautiful goal short side top corner, right under the bar, to make in 2-1 Bucks. Cranbrook would strike a third and final time on the powerplay as Rhys Bentham unloaded a rocket from the blueline that no one was stopping.
The Smoke Eaters pushed back in the third but failed to find an answer for Airey. The Smoke Eaters are back in action looking for their first win of the exhibition schedule as they host the Wenatchee Wild on Thursday night. Tickets are just $5 and can be bought online at tickets.trailsmokeeaters.com, at the Smoke Eaters office prior to game day or at the door on game night.