Contributed by Jesse Adamson for BCHL communications
Tonight – Trail Smoke Eaters (19-9-2-0) @ Wenatchee Wild (19-8-2-1)
6:30 p.m. at Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee.
Presented by the BCIHL
Wenatchee won the first meeting between the teams 3-2 in double overtime. Wild forward Lucas Sowder scored his second goal of the game 1:34 into the fifth period and goalie Jacob Acton made 35 saves to give the road team the win. Trail’s Ross Armour scored both his team’s goals in the loss.
The Smoke Eaters won the second meeting between the teams 7-5 at home. Trail’s Levi Glasman had a hat trick to lead his team to the win. Carter Jones chipped in with two goals and Kale Howarth had a goal and two assists for Trail. Sowder, Sam Morton, Slava Demin and AJ Vanderbeck each had two-point nights for Wenatchee in a losing effort.
Trail forward Levi Glasman has points in his last three games, scoring three goals and adding three assists in that span, although he missed his team’s last game while away at tryouts for Team Canada West for the World Junior A Challenge. Smoke Eaters forward Ross Armour is tied for second in the BCHL with 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists) in 29 games. Teammate Kale Howarth is fifth in league scoring with 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) in 26 games. Jeremy Lucchini is third among BCHL defencemen with 27 points (three goals, 24 assists) in 30 games. Glasman will return tonight for Trail, while Armour and defenceman Seth Barton are still with Team Canada West and won’t be in the lineup.
Wenatchee’s Jasper Weatherby is tied with Armour for second in league scoring with 42 points in 30 games. Weatherby’s 22 goals are second in the BCHL. The Wild have three players in the top-ten in scoring among BCHL defencemen. Cooper Zech is second with 30 points (six goals, 24 assists), Chad Sasaki is fourth with 24 points (five goals, 19 assists) and Slava Demin is tied for 10th with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists). Wenatchee goalie Austin Park is seventh in the league with a 2.51 goals-against average, while teammate Seth Eisele is ninth with an average of 2.62.
What’s at Stake
Wenatchee and Trail are separated by one point in the Interior Division standings, each with 30 games played. The Wild are in third place with 41 points. The Smoke Eaters have lost five games in a row to drop into fourth place with 40 points. They are chasing the first-place Vernon Vipers who have 46 points and the second-place Penticton Vees who have 43. The West Kelowna Warriors are five points back of Trail in fifth place.
Trail Smoke Eaters coach Cam Keith on facing Wenatchee tonight:
“They’re very offensive. They have a ton of skill up front and also on the back end. They can hurt you with their forwards and they can also hurt you with their D. There’s not a certain line that you can focus on shutting down. They have a really balanced offensive attack and they’re really good in their own rink.
“We need to keep it low scoring and try to make it more of a defensive battle. We need to try to control the puck in their zone with a low cycle and puck possession, not a racetrack-style game. They have a ton of speed on the back end and up front and we can’t match that so we have to take a different approach and try to win it in the corners and try to score the non-pretty goals where it’s just a basic shot with traffic and try to find second-chance opportunities rather than try to transition against them.
Keith on playing in Wenatchee:
“It’s like playing in a pro or semi-pro arena. There’s a ton of off-the-ice theatrics going on with a huge game presentation and the big TV screen. It just has a way different feel than a game you would see in Canada. The fans are really into it, being really vocal.”
Wenatchee Wild coach Bliss Littler on facing Trail tonight:
“The one line (Howarth, Armour, Glassman), you can’t let them run wild. If you can contain them then you have a chance. They’re a well-coached team, they play hard. This is the first time that we’ve had them in our building this year, so we want to make sure that we hold serve in our building. When we turn the puck over in bad areas and allow their big line to have outnumbered rushes, we struggle. We’re going to have to do a better job taking care of the puck and just being aware of those three guys.
“They’ve developed into one of the better teams in the league. I’m sure they’re very excited, they’re in a position that they haven’t been in for a while. With the ownership change, the building improvement, the locker-room improvement, I think there’s a lot of excitement in Trail and all that carries over into the locker room.”
ABOUT THE BCIHL
The British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League was created with the purpose of offering a venue for competitive, high-calibre hockey that’s close to home for players beyond their junior careers. The league was launched in 2006 and now includes six member teams: Eastern Washington University, Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University, the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University. This season, 25 graduates with over 2750 games of BCHL experience are pursuing their academic and athletic goals in the BCIHL. To learn more about the BCIHL and playing opportunities for BCHL grads, visit www.bcihl.ca.