The Trail Smoke Eaters made their first road trip to the East Kootenay’s on Friday night looking to play spoiler in the Cranbrook Bucks home opener.
As the Bucks stepped onto the ice at Western Financial Place for the first time in franchise history it was with one goal in mind, win our home opener and even up the Kootenay Cup series. Backed by strong goaltending from Jacob Zacharewicz the Bucks did just that as they knocked off the Smoke Eaters 4-1. The Bucks opened the scoring as captain Briggs Gammill scored late in the period to give the Bucks a 1-0 lead with a powerplay goal. A powerplay that came after the Smoke Eaters missed out on a 5-on-3 powerplay just moments before, but now without its chances. The goal by Gammill would send the Smoke Eaters to the intermission trailing by a goal.
In the second it was more of what we’ve become accustomed too between those two teams in a chop second period, with the Smoke Eaters starting well but this time it was the Bucks who ended the period with a pair. This time it was Dane Dowiak who scored two, one at 7:17 and another at 15:10 to make it 3-0 Cranbrook. Dowiak’s first goal would also stand as the game winner.
In the third the Smoke Eaters would get one back late, as Drew Elser picked up his first goal as a Smoke Eater, with a powerplay goal with less than two minutes left in the third. Mitchell Prowse, assisted on the goal as he, along with Ben King, made their Smoke Eaters debut. The Smokies the pushed late for a second and an equalizer but ran out of time as the Bucks finished this one off with an empty net goal to make it 4-1.
The Smoke Eaters are back in action Saturday night as they look to bounce back against the Bucks are retake a lead in the Kootenay Cup. Puck drop is at 6pm from Western Financial Place in Cranbrook.