Smokies vs. ‘Backs

Tonight – Trail Smoke Eaters (7-7-3-1) at Salmon Arm Silverbacks (8-7-1-0)
7 p.m. at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm
Presented by the BCIHL

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Previous Meetings

Trail beat Salmon Arm 6-3 on Sept. 14 in their only meeting so far this year. Recently-traded forward Levi Glasman had two goals in the game, while Trevor Zins and Carter Jones contributed a goal and an assist each for the Smoke Eaters in the win. Mack Byers and Hayden Rowan had the other two goals for Trail, while Tyson Gayfer, Hudson Schandor and Trevor Adams scored for Salmon Arm in the loss.

Who’s Hot

Braeden Tuck leads the Smoke Eaters in scoring with 18 points (7-11-18) in 17 games. Trevor Zins is second in team scoring and his 17 points (5-12-16) are tied for second most among all BCHL defencemen. Diarmad DiMurro has 13 assists on the season, which is tied for the most among all blueliners, and his 13 points are tied for sixth.

Matthew Verboon’s 14 points (6-8-14) lead the Silverbacks, while Noah Wakeford (3-10-13) and Justin Wilson (5-7-12) are second and third respectively. Trevor Adams leads the team in goals with seven on the year. On the back end, Akito Hirose has 11 points (2-9-11) and Olsen Werenka has 10 (2-8-10). Salmon Arm goalie Ethan Langenegger has a record of 6-7-0, with a save percentage of .911.

What’s at Stake

The teams come into tonight separated by one point in the Interior Division standings. The Smoke Eaters are alone in fifth with 18 points and the Silverbacks are tied with the Vernon Vipers for sixth with 17. Only five points separate first and seventh place in the division.

From the Broadcast Booth

Salmon Arm Silverbacks play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Lepper on veteran defenceman Akito Hirose:

“As a broadcaster, he doesn’t always jump off the page in terms of his playing style, but I think he’s very good at the little things in the game. The coaches say his shot has improved dramatically since he came to the league and he is still working on it. He’s one of those players where, when he’s on the ice, the goalie knows life will be a little easier and he’s great at moving pucks up to the forwards.”

Lepper on how the Silverbacks can separate themselves from the pack in the tight Interior Division standings:

“Earning some more points on the road would definitely help the team. They have been great at home, but need to find their way on the road. There are so many great fanbases in this league and it’s not an easy task going into a hostile environment.”

Trail Smoke Eaters play-by-play broadcaster Trevor Miller on newly acquired defenceman Powell Connor:

“I think Connor brings a great deal of experience with his pedigree of playing in big games and anytime you add a National Champion, it can’t be overlooked. He brings a fair share of grit and sandpaper to the Smoke Eaters back end and makes for a very tough defence to have to go against night in and night out.”

Miller on what stood out last time these teams met in September:

“It’s hard not to notice how effective Akito Hirose is on any given night as he adds so much from the blue line and contributes plenty to the offensive attack. I thought Hudson Schandor and Trevor Adams each played strong games back in September as well and made life a bit of a difficulty for the Smoke Eaters inside of their own zone. Sol Seibel also had himself a strong game leading from the back end and making strong plays out of his own zone to kickstart the offence.”

Miller on what the Smoke Eaters need to do to get back to winning ways after a string of losses:

“I think the biggest key to get the Smoke Eaters back into the winning column is to protect their net. Sitting 15th in goals against in the league, I know that is a category that head coach Jeff Tambellini would like to shore up and the addition of a player like Powell Connor will aid in that greatly. It’s been a stretch of play that has been frustrating for the team but the signs are there to breakout of the mini slump.”

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 five member teams: 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 BCIHL.ca.