Thursday, February 19, 2009

Post-Westside Audio

(Corcoran and Gehon battle while Strukoff looks for the puck - Photo Randy Emery)

The Trail Smoke Eaters gave one of their most complete efforts since the Christmas break in a 4-1 loss to Westside on Tuesday. I know a lot of fans might see that and roll their eyes. Here's the announcer kissing ass and covering for the team after another loss, right? Well I don't think anyone can say over my two years here that I have refused to criticize the team when they've deserved it. On Tuesday they played hard, smart and consistent hockey. They out shot and out chanced Westside without five regulars in their line-up.

So why did they lose? Kevin Jebson was outstanding for the Warriors. He made some spectacular saves and he got a little bit of help from the posts. Ryan Bulach (who was an absolute force in the game and should have NCAA schools all over him in my opinion) hit two different posts in ten seconds. It's like they're cursed right now.

They also gave Watson too much room to work in front of the Trail net in the second period. He massive frame shadowed Paul Barclay on a tip in goal to make it 2-1 and he was able to walk in for a loose puck during a scramble on the 3-1 goal. Even so, in most games Trail would've at least tied it at 3 with all the great chances they had. Jebson was the difference maker. The folks up in the press box even admitted they should have given him a star but had sent in their selections early in the third period.

Losing streaks and slumps are hard to snap out of it. Even when most things are going right, enough things go wrong so that you don't get that W. Trail badly needs these two games against Merritt to get their confidence back. If they do that and put up a real good fight (and perhaps get a win) in Vernon on Sunday, watch out come playoff time.

Smokies Coach Jim Ingram on Mountain FM Mornings with Rudy and Johnson

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AM Ford Trail Smoke Eaters Hockey Highlights: Feb 17 Trail 1 at Westside 4

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