Sunday, December 20, 2009

Post Game: Trail 4 Victoria 0

This was perhaps the best 60 minute effort we've seen from the Smoke Eaters this season. Usually in any game this year you could point to a segment where Trail wasn't at their best. Tonight the Smokies battled hard all night and didn't make many if any big blunders. It was certainly the kind of complete performance we've all felt this team was capeable of. They got clutch scoring, big hitting, smart play in their own end, good penalty killing and of course very good goaltending in the team's first shut out of the year. 5 out of the 6 periods this weekend were as good as a Trail team has played in my team here. There are many reasons for optimism as we head into the holiday break.

Of course those pesky Centennials had to go and win twice this weekend too. It should be a big game when Merritt is in town on December 30th. The next game for Trail though is against Vernon on the 29th. For now I hope the players, coaches, staff, volunteers and fans all have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy the break and recharge those batteries for a tough battle down the stretch the rest of the way.

Here's my game report from
Trail, BC - Victoria goaltender Ryan Holfeld was involved in his third straight shut out, but this time it was on the losing end. Holfeld shut out both Merritt and Salmon Arm on the Interior road trip for the Grizzlies. On Saturday night it was Smoke Eaters goaltender Garrett Beckwith who blanked Victoria.

Beckwith made 24 stops for the first shut out of his BCHL career. It was also the first shut out for the Smoke Eaters this season.

Holfeld and Beckwith matched each other save for save in a scoreless first period. Trail didn't waste any time once the puck dropped in the second as Sam Mellor scored only 12 seconds in to break the deadlock. It was his 20th of the season which puts him only 3 back of the rookie goal scoring lead.

Travis St. Denis, Paul Mailey and Nick Sandor also scored for Trail. Sandor and Mellor each had a goal and an assist.

Neither team was able to score on the power play. Trail went 0 for 3 while Victoria was 0 for 4. The Smoke Eaters PK only allowed a single power play goal all weekend and has shown huge strides.

Trail has allowed an average of just over 3 goals per game in December. That's a significant improvement from the over 5 goals per game they were averaging in the previous 3 months.

The Smoke Eaters are now on holiday break and will play Vernon on December 29th.

ON THE TRAIL: Mike Betz, Wade Bennett and Tom Rizzardo sat out for the Smokies ... This was the first game between the two teams since last fall. The Smoke Eaters will visit Victoria in the new year ... Both Mellor and St. Denis scored in back to back games this weekend for Trail. They're the highest scoring duo of 1992 born players in the BCHL ... Josh McEwan dropped the gloves twice for Trail and fought a total of three times on the weekend. He now has more than 100 penalty minutes in 24 games ... The Grizzlies thought they'd scored late in the first period when referee Graham Waugh signalled for a goal on a shot that actually had hit the side of the net. It was waved off after Waugh conferred with his linesmen.
Don't forget we'll have reaction and interviews from the weekend on Mountain FM's Overtime this week. We're running shows on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. On Thursday and Friday Mountain FM will instead have Christmas content. Tune in to the radio or if you're an out of town listener we'll have the podcast. I'll also post some Smokies related audio on the blog this Monday or Tuesday. You can also expect video highlights from this weekend's games at some point.

For now I wish all the boys headed home over the next couple of days a safe trip and happy holiday season. Enjoy the time off now, because the hardest work is still to come!

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