The Trail Smoke Eaters head south of the border still in search of their first win of the season after a disappointing 0-5 start at home. The Smokies dropped two games to a Penticton Vees team that looked to be in mid-season form to open the 2019-20 BCHL season. Last weekend the Smoke Eaters faithful watched as their Smokies would see two more opportunities versus Salmon Arm slip away.
On Wednesday after 40 minutes, the Smoke Eaters were within striking distance in a game against Powell River that they controlled at times. The Kings changed that just 66 seconds into the third period, as they scored twice in that timeframe and four times in the final 20 minutes for a 5-2 victory.
Trail must look to a road trip to turn things around. GM and Head Coach Jeff Tambellini has mixed the lines on a nightly basis looking to find the right combination. During each game, glimpses of the team that was expected when the season began could be seen. The latest assembly of Smoke Eaters has yet to complete a 60-minute effort.
The Smoke Eaters are two and a half weeks into the season and already must look deep within themselves and find a way to put a stop to this skid. Philippe Lapointe, the Smoke Eaters captain, is still sidelined with an injury and not expected to return for more than a month. On a positive note the play of the youngest rookies Jaden Senkoe (01), Chase Dafoe (02), Walker Erickson (02), Colby Elmer (01) and Logan Terness (02) has been reassuring for the organization.
The Wenatchee Wild is the next test for the Smoke Eaters. No easy task for a Trail team in hostile territory. The Town Toyota Center is sure to be loud as the Wild take the ice to attempt and send the Smoke Eaters to an 0-6 start. On Saturday, the Smoke Eaters travel to West Kelowna and Royal LePage Place to face a Warriors team that will also be coming off a game on Friday in Merritt.
Trail will complete a four-game in five nights swing back at Cominco Arena on Sunday with a 5 pm puck drop versus the Victoria Grizzlies. Smokies fans will be watching the scoreboard closely and look to welcome home a team that has found its game south of the border and ready to make a move up the Interior Division standings.
Which team will return to Cominco on Sunday evening is yet to be determined. What we do know is that no matter what team hits the ice on Sunday versus the Grizzlies, the Smoke Eaters will have learned a hard lesson over the first three weeks of the 2019-20 BCHL season.