After a week off for both teams, the Smoke Eaters make their first trip of the year to the East Kootenay’s for a doubleheader against the Cranbrook Bucks, looking to close out the Kootenay Cup.
Oct. 16 Cranbrook @ Trail – 3-0 L
Oct. 17 Cranbrook @ Trail – 3-1 W
Oct. 24 Cranbrook @ Trail – 4-2 W
Nov. 6 at Cranbrook 6:00 pm @ Western Financial Place
Nov. 7 at Cranbrook 6:00 pm @ Western Financial Place
Nov. 21 at Cranbrook 6:00 pm @ Western Financial Place
Nov. 27 at Cranbrook 6:00 pm @ Western Financial Place
The Smoke Eaters head to Western Financial Place for the first time tonight looking to take a 3-1 series lead in their battle for the Kootenay Cup. The Smoke Eaters head to Cranbrook with a few additions to the roster and a more consistent one following the October 31st deadline that required all BCHL teams to go from 30 players down to 25. It’s expected that recently loaned in defenceman Mitchell Prowse will make his Smoke Eaters debut on the back end, looking to help solidify a young core of players. You could see Prowse working the second powerplay unit this weekend giving the Smoke Eaters a boost to their two units that have started scoring goals in recent games. The powerplay was the difference two weeks ago as Noah Wakeford and Chase Dafoe both scored in the final two minutes of the second period to flip a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead heading to the third. The Smoke Eaters will need to match the intensity and the energy early on from the Bucks who will undoubtedly be looking to make a statement in their first home game.
The Bucks will be hoping they can channel some of that energy and tie up the Kootenay Cup series at two games a piece and not be facing defeat on Saturday night. Jacob Zacharewicz has had close to three weeks off as the Bucks rotated their goalies as Nathan Airey took the loss in the Bucks last game despite a strong showing in his Bucks debut. Expect to see both goaltenders this weekend for the Bucks. The Bucks will have to be aware of the Smoke Eaters new additions from the WHL, that adds a new threat. It may also work in the Bucks favour with their aggressive forecheck as they try and catch guys off guard given the break these players have had. The Bucks know with the Smoke Eaters powerplay heating up they need to stay disciplined. They’ve proved they can compete 5-on-5 and create chances, while the Smoke Eaters powerplay has only just starting scoring its looked dangerous all year with plenty of possession through the two minutes.
Tonight’s game four of the Kootenay Cup starts at 6pm PST from Cranbrook on HockeyTV, as former Smokies broadcaster Wylie Henderson will have the call for the Bucks. There will be no away broadcast on HockeyTV. Fans looking for a Smoke Eaters perspective on the game can listen in for free on Mixlr as Ben Phillips and Rob Squires will be live with a pregame show at 5:50, each intermission and a post game recaps.