Thursday, December 10, 2009

Post Game: Westside 3 Trail 0

Here is my game summary from the official website. I thought tonight was another well played and close game. As someone put it to me tonight, it seems like Trail is just two or three plays a game away from really being competitive with the top teams in the BCHL. Obviously the guys are frustrated they've just lost their fourth straight game, but they were in this one from the drop of the puck. Unfortunately they couldn't find a way to put any of their chances away.

Westside didn't give them much. The Warriors were stingy all game and even stingier once they got the lead. They were as good as any team I've seen this season at blocking the lines and eliminating second chances. Jebson played well but did leave some rebounds for the taking... Trail just couldn't get to it! It's interesting that Jebson (who did play well) gets the shut out, but I really actually thought that Kiefer Smiley was the better of the two goaltenders tonight.

When you look at how many 91s and 92s are on that Warriors squad it's hard to imagine how poised and controlled they play. It was a heck of a chess match especially in the first half of the game. However, I felt like when Trail couldn't take advantage of their third and fourth power play opportunities the wind really got sucked out of their sails heading into the third.

There are so many positive steps forward in the recent games against Penticton, Salmon Arm, Vernon and Wetside. When you are within a goal or two of three teams that are in the top 20 CJHL rankings and another that's just as good... you're doing something right. Just not quite enough. There is also only one single point to show for it. That makes Friday night's game against Merritt crucial.

Trail, BC - The Westside Warriors were road warriors in Trail on Wednesday night. They played perhaps the prototypical road game by keeping it simple and pouncing on their opportunities in a 3-0 win over the Smokies.

The two teams battled in a scoreless draw for the first half of the game as neither side gave an inch. It was Warriors leading scorer Trevor Bailey who finally found the back of the net on a strong individual effort with the only goal Westide would need.

The Warriors added a marker from Tyler Brickner and Cam Reid iced the game into an empty net.

Kevin Jebson made 29 saves for the shut outs. He made a particularly noteworthy stop on a Nick Sandor shot from the slot that could have changed the momentum. Kiefer Smiley also had a strong game with 34 saves on 36 shots in the Trail net.

Trail's power play let them down in the game as the 5th ranked unit in the BCHL failed to convert on all 5 chances they had.

The Smoke Eaters have now lost four consecutive close games against the BCHL's tough Okanagan clubs. They'll try and get back in the win column when they host Merritt on Friday night.

ON THE TRAIL: Friday's game will be a teddy bear toss night at the Cominco Arena ... Graeme Strukoff was still out with a lower body injury. Garrett Beckwith also missed the game after being hit by Vernon's Connor Jones on Saturday night. He may be good to go by Friday. Creston Valley Thunder goaltender Chad Katunar filled in as an AP. He was the last goalie cut at Smokies camp ... There was quite a match up game as Trail tried to get the Justin Brown, Paul Mailey and Matt Wilkins line against Westside's top guns. The Smokies trio did a very effective job of shutting Trevor Bailey, Cam Reid and Cole Wilson down for the most part. However, they were at their most dangerous when Westside was able to change on the fly to avoid the match up ... Merritt comes into Friday night's game in Trail without a single road win this season. The Cents hold 3 wins over Trail, but all the games were in Merritt.

Click here
for the game summary

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