Thursday, October 23, 2008

Penticton Highlights

Here's some audio from the game:
Ugly game for the Smokies on Tuesday night in Penticton. Maybe they were in awe of the South Okanagan Events Centre? The first period was actually very even, but it seems like Manderson's early goal in the second completely took the wind out of Trail's sails. They're not going to win every game!

Coach Ingram told Jeff Sargeant on Overtime last night that people have been coming up to him after the loss worried that the wheels are falling off. Calm down, folks! It's one loss. The last time the Smokies lost a game like that they followed it up with an 8-2 victory. This team has proven several times this season that they can bounce back from a poor effort or some kind of set back. We should also remember that the Penticton Vees... they're a pretty decent hockey team. They beat Victoria tonight. They have the second best winning percentage in the league. A team that talented is sometimes going to get the best of you.

We all knew the Penticton games were going to be tough. I think Smokies fans should be happy that the team picked up four of a possible six points against the Vees so far. That they were somewhat listless in the game is a bit of a concern, but this team works too hard for anyone to think that will continue.

That doesn't mean it's win or bust on Friday night against Victoria. The Grizzlies are ranked second in Canada and have as loaded a line-up as you'll see in Junior A hockey this season. They're built to win the Royal Bank Cup and will be a great test for this young Trail team. If Trail plays like they have all month (with Tuesday's 2nd and 3rd periods as an exception) they will give Victoria a run for their money.

If there was ever a time Smokies fans should show up in droves I would think it's now. Your home team is ranked 11th in the country. The 2nd ranked team is in town. Both teams have a lot of skill and speed. It's the only time all season long the two teams will face off. You absolutely don't want to miss this. Tell your friends!

Puck drop is 7:30pm.

Incidently, we'll talk to Victoria GM Jackson Penney tomorrow night on Overtime. Listen to the show before the game gets started. We'll be there live tomorrow. Come say hi!

NEW RINK

The new arena in Penticton is something else. Just a gorgeous building with a world class scoreboard. Coach Ingram put it best when he told me that it was basically a mini-NHL arena. The building is going to be the envy of all Junior A teams in Canada.

However, there are a couple of issues. First of all, how often are they going to get 5000 people? They even had less than 2000 for Victoria tonight. Those are great crowds for a Thursday night, but will the arena seem and sound empty when it's less than half full? I know I felt like it didn't quite have the same atmosphere as the old Memorial Arena when we were there on Tuesday. It's a better facility, but it certainly won't be as intimate.

There's something to be said for a packed crowd of 2500 versus a sparse crowd of even 3000. What do you think? It will certainly be incredible come playoff time if they can get close to a sell out.

The other thing that concerns me won't matter to any fans other than perhaps those listening to the broadcast of the games from the SOEC (I say we start calling it the Sock). The broadcast position is actually far from ideal. The press box is well on its way to being world class, but it's not a great spot for calling a game. We're positioned far into one end of the ice and way up high. When the face off is in the far end I can't see the numbers of any of the defending players. There's a reason 95% of press boxes are in the middle!

That's why I'm going to have to say that for now Vernon stands alone as the best press box in the league. Sorry Penticton. Your arena is fantastic, but I'm selfish!

INTERIOR VS. COAST

Victoria has dropped both games on their Interior road trip so far. They had a rough time in Salmon Arm and lost in overtime against the Vees. The best team on the Coast isn't exactly having their way with the Interior so far. Last year Penticton won the BCHL title in convincing fashion over Nanaimo. Is it fair to say the Interior has been a little big stronger lately?

We'll see! Something to keep an eye on.

1 comment:

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