LINDEN MARSHALL 1st STAR – 33 SAVES
The Smoke Eaters defeated the Island Division leading Victoria Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon in a highly entertaining 4-3 victory. In doing so, the Smokies made history as it was the first time in recent recorded stats that the team has won both games on the annual parent weekend. All parents were in attendance over the weekend festivities which included the two home games and the annual $1000 reverse draw, dinner, auction and dance held at the Colombo Hall on Saturday night. The dinner on Saturday evening was a complete sell out and a successful fund raiser. The Smoke Eaters would like to thank the parents, the fans and all the volunteers who attended the dinner and supported the team in bidding on the auction items.
Combined with the 4-2 win on Friday night against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and the 4-3 win on Sunday over Victoria the Smokies now find themselves in third place in the Interior Division, one point behind the Vernon Vipers in second place. The Smokies are tied with Merritt for third but have a game in hand. The two games over the weekend were probably two of the more exciting games played this season.
On Sunday afternoon all scoring was done in the second period with the teams playing to scoreless first and third periods. The Smokies jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the 7:45 mark of the second on goals by Josh Laframboise and Blaine Caton with two. Laframboise scored his 11th of the season at 1:09 with Kale Howarth and Luke Santerno assisting. Blaine Caton scored his 3rd of the season at the 3:45 mark with assists going to Mitchell Stapley and Troy Ring. He scored his 4th of the year at 7:45. Tyson Slater and Jack Sitzman assisted on the goal. The Grizzlies fought back to within one when Nick Guiney scored two goals at 11:18 and 15:21. At 17:22 Connor Brown Maloski scored what proved to be the winning goal with Ross Armour assisting on the marker. Victoria’s Tyler Welsh made it 4-3 when he scored at the 19:07 mark. In the scoreless third period the Grizzlies outshot the Smokies 11-6 and Smokies goalie, Linden Marshall made several key saves to preserve the win.
Fortis Energy Player of the Game was Mitchell Stapley. Linden Marshall of the Smokies was named first star of the game making 33 saves on the night while facing 36 shots. Smokies, Blaine Caton was name second star with two goals and Keyvan Mokhtari of the Grizzlies was named third star.
The Grizzlies, who were leading the Island Division coming into the Sunday afternoon tilt at the Cominco Arena, had only two losses on the year. They now have three losses and two of those were at the hands of the Smokies. Earlier in the year the Smokies defeated Victoria in the BCHL showcase 5-4 in double O/T.
At this point in the season the Smokies have three players in the top 20 in scoring. Luke Santerno is in 9th place with 9 goals and 15 assists for 24 points. Kale Howarth is in 17th spot with 21 points on 10 goals and 11 assists while Ross Armour is in 19th place with 6 goals and 15 assists for 21 points. Josh Laframboise is in 24th spot with 18 points on 11 goals and 7 assists.
The game on Sunday afternoon was historic in nature as it was the last game that the Smokies played under the Trail Smoke Eater Hockey Club Society. As of November 1 the team will be playing under the direction of private ownership. Rich Murphy of Minnesota is now the new owner of the Smoke Eaters and in an announcement on Saturday, that present Smokie assistant coach, Craig Clare, will be the new “Director of Hockey Operations,” he has committed to his promise of community involvement as Craig is a former Smokie, assistant coach for many years and a home town resident.
Smokies next home game is on Friday, November 4 against Prince George. Game time is 7:30 PM at the Cominco Arena. Doors open at 6:45 PM.