At the halfway point of the shortened BCHL season the Smoke Eaters sit on level terms with a 5-5-0 record following a 5-3 win over the Cranbrook Bucks on Monday night.
It’s starting to sound repetitive but the Smoke Eaters opened the scoring with an early goal by none other than Quinn Disher who beat Nathan Airey on the short side at 3:58 of the first period. Ryan Helliwell sent a stretch pass to centre ice that was found by Disher, who tipped it forward to Kalen Szeto who moved his wat into the Bucks zone before dropping it for Disher on the left side who made no mistake. Disher picked up his fifth goal of the campaign, and his third opening goal of the game. The Smoke Eaters would take a 1-0 lead to the first intermission after a fairly even rest of the first period.
In the second the barn doors flew open with goals on either side of the ice. The Bucks got on level terms first with a powerplay goal just 1:18 into the period as Cameron Knungle’s shot from the blueline made it through the crowd untouched and past Logan Terness to make it 1-1. The Bucks would then take the lead as the Smoke Eaters took three straight penalties to start the second period. As the third one expired it was Drake Burgin getting his first BCHL goal with a low shot out of the corner to beat Terness and give the Bucks a 2-1 lead. The Smoke Eaters then answered back 1:21 later with a powerplay goal of their own as Helliwell, as we’ve seen before let rip a shot from the blueline that beat Airey.
It took just 1:13 more the the Smoke Eaters to regain the lead as Quinn Disher picked up his second of the night in unique fashion. Disher took a pass from Noah Wakeford on the right side of the ice and took a one-timer on from just inside the blueline that was partially blocked by the defenceman in front of him. The partial deflection made it difficult for Airey to pick up the shot, leading to the goal and Disher’s 6th of the year.
The Smoke Eaters weren’t done there either as they would get another powerplay minutes later that Noah Wakeford would score on. Again it was the shot from Helliwell from the point that cause all the trouble as the puck hit Worlford and the Bucks defender in front and fell to the left side of the net where Wakeford was patiently waiting to make it 4-2 Smoke Eaters, that goal would be the eventual game winner as well. The Smoke Eaters capped off a brilliant second period flurry with one of his many amazing saves by Terness, allowing Justin Ross to go the other way and score his first BCHL goal with a beautiful over the shoulder snipe!
The Bucks pushed hard in the third period, scoring once on a goal from Reece Henry just past the midway point, but couldn’t close the gap more than that, despite outshooting the Smoke Eaters 13-0 in the final frame. The Smoke Eaters now improve to 5-5-0 on the year at the midway point of the pod, while the Bucks drop their eighth in a row and sit at 1-9-0.
VH Sport Three Stars
1st: Ryan Helliwell 1G, 2A (TRA)
2nd: Kalen Szeto 3A (TRA)
3rd: Cameron Knungle 1G, 1A (CRA)
Fortis Energy Player of The Game: Ethan Floris
Able Plastics Powerplay 2/3
Flying Steam Shovel Penalty Kill 3/4
The Smoke Eaters now have three days off before their next game against the Penticton Vees on Friday April 23rd at 7pm.