Friday, November 30, 2007

Game 29: Merritt at Trail

It's been suggested to me that a blog might be a better place to post my game thoughts and updates about the Smoke Eaters than on the BCHL message board. Lets give it a go. I know Hammer in Alberni has a successful BCHL blog so I'm just following in his footsteps. I can't promise the blog will be as good.

Friday, November 30th, 2007: Merritt (6-18-0-5) at Trail (14-12-0-2)

(Click here for the box score)

If you absolutely can't make it to the game, tune into Mountain FM for Overtime live from the game and at Rave's Restaurant for the post-game show. We'll keep you up to date, but if you don't go you're missing out.

The Smoke Eaters are in 5th place in the BCHL Interior Conference while Merritt sits in last. The Cents are 13 points behind Trail in the standings and 10 points out of a playoff spot. However, the Smokies haven't been able to take advantage of games against teams bellow them in the standings. The competition in this conference is such that any team seems to be able to win on any given night. There's enough talent on any team that they'll burn you if given the chance. The Smokies are coming off great wins against Penticton and Salmon Arm, and a tough loss to a shorthanded Westside squad on Tuesday. Trail has to watch for Prince George and Quesnel who are sneaking up behind them for those final playoff spots.


...big first period from Trail. No goals but 17 shots. Good pressure, Mainprize is playing very well for Merritt.

...2nd period starts with a couple of fights. Brad Davis and Tyler Barr had a good scrap. Davis overshot on a punch and went down, but he kept throwing them from his butt. Really scrappy player who always backs up his gritty play with a fight if need be. Same can be said for Patrick Martin. He took on Brian Kang and I'd give Martin the decision in a close, exciting fight. Smokies aren't the biggest team in the league but they will always stand up for themselves and their teammates.

...Merritt scores first. Typical hockey play in that Herold hit the crossbar for Trail and they immediately get scored on. That's how this game goes sometimes, eh? Brian Kang scores it for Merritt on a well placed backhand.

...Smokies putting lots of pressure on but goaltending has been really strong and the Merritt D are keeping Trail to the outside. They just need one of these pucks to go off a skate or something. It's bouncing everywhere but in. Power play has had their chances but nothing doing so far. Credit to Merritt today so far.

...I spoke too soon! Big slapshot by Westover tipped by David Arduin in front and the game is tied. Had to happen sooner or later. Power play goal for the Smokies. Nice to see Arduin get one, that should open up the flood gates for him I think.

...Rollheiser looked like he made an outstanding save but the puck went in. Goal judge and ref said so and no one complained so I assume it must have gone in. That's gotta hurt. Just tie the game late like that and with 1:19 left Merritt goes ahead.

...I've got to head to Rave's for the post game show. I'll update after with final thoughts on the game.

Merritt adds an empty netter to get the win. Give the Cents credit as they did a good job forcing Trail to the outside on a lot of their chances. Mainprize was great and as noted by a couple of people I talked to, he was especially good at not giving up any rebounds out there. Ran into a hot goalie and that will happen.

I'm glad the team isn't happy about losing, but as the Coach said on the post game show, they can hold their heads up going into tomorrow night's game. The effort was there, the shots were there, and when you play like that generally the results will come.

First to last we're seeing that anyone in the Interior can beat anyone else on any given night. Merritt beat Westside recently too. PG and Quesnel are getting some big wins on teams ahead of them in the standings. Westside beats Penticton and Vernon over Salmon Arm tonight. Thing are getting tighter and this is gonna be a fun race.

Tomorrow's the last home game for two weeks as the boys will be in PG and Quesnel next weekend. Hope there's a good crowd.

FINAL SCORE: Merritt 3 Trail 1