The Smoke Eaters welcomed fans back to Cominco for their home opener on Saturday night and gave the fans plenty to cheer for with a 3-1 win over the Cranbrook Bucks.
After an extended pre game ceremony that say the Smoke Eaters debut a new set of home jersey’s as well as make a formal introduction to the home fan’s, it was the Cranbrook Bucks who started the right way with a goal just two minutes into the game. It was a familiar foe to as Tyson Dyck score his third of the season and third against the Smoke Eaters making it a 1-0 game. The Smoke Eaters found their footing though and put the pressure on the Bucks. Finally they were rewarded just after the halfway point as Ridge Dawson picked up his first BCHL goal redirecting the Coalson Wolford shot overtop Evan Gartner.
The Smoke Eaters built off that goal and late in the period would take advantage of a powerplay that was executed to perfection as Zach Michaelis added his second of the year, the goal would be the eventual game winner.
The powerplays would continue to come for the Smoke Eaters, getting a total of six opportunities on the night. Something Tim Fragle praised his group pregame for was their discipline, something that got away from the Bucks. In the 2nd the ice opened up a bit more on either side as the teams trade chances, but Evan Fradette was up to the task, stopping 37/38 on the night and all 16 he faced in the middle frame. The Smoke Eaters closed out the second period in style as newly minted assistant captain Ethan Willoughby showed off his offensive talents as he won the turnover in the neutral zone, blew past the Cranbrook defenceman and roofed it short side on Gartner.
The Smoke Eaters then shut things down in the third, giving Cranbrook nothing to look at. The Bucks pushed and even got a late powerplay to go 6-on-4 with the net empty but multiple clearances from Evan Bushy and a few big saves by Fradette saw the Smoke Eaters through to victory.
VH Sport Three Stars
3rd Star – Ethan Willoughby 1G
2nd Star – Jordan Hendry 2A
1st Star – Evan Fradette 37/38 SV
The Smoke Eaters are back in action on Wednesday night as they look to build off this performance when they welcome in the West Kelowna Warriors.