Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Post Game 3: Westside 4 Trail 0

Sorry this is late as I was dead to the world last night when I got home after a 13 hour day. I've had some people e-mail me who are fans of both teams that were attacking the "cheap shots" and bad behaviour of each team depending who they support. What we're seeing here is a playoff series between two teams that really don't like each other. It has been intense and at times it has been dirty. I'm not a fan of cheap shots no matter who takes them, but that seems to come with the territory in this series.

I will say that I hope players will think twice before any "intent to injury" type plays. There is no place in the game for blindsiding a player at full speed who doesn't have the puck. Period. I don't care what jersey you're wearing that just isn't acceptable. There also isn't any place in the game for either team to get their sticks up at face level as much as we've seen in this series. By all means play with a hard and physical edge. I love that type of game. However, if you're going to do it... do it with class and respect.

Trail, BC - The Smoke Eaters didn't find much comfort in home cooking as Westside took game 3 in Trail 4-0. Alex Grieve scored less than a minute into the game and that was all Kevin Jebson needed. The Warriors netminder stopped all 31 shots he faced including breakaways by Josh McEwan and Matt Wilkins.

The game also took on a distinctly physical tone as referee Grant Tyson was forced to hand out quite a few misconducts to try and settle things down. In all the teams combined for 120 penalty minutes in game that only saw 7 total power plays.

It ended on a physical note as well. A shoving match beside the Westside bench between Taylor Swaffield and Joel Woznikoski escalated in the final minute but never did turn into the full blown brawl it could have. However, it is obvious how much distaste the two sides have for one another.

The Warriors finally struck on the power play for the first time on the series. Brendan Ellis fired one in off of Kiefer Smiley and Smokies defender Steve Koshey to make it 2-0 Westside. Ellis would later score his second of the game into the empty cage.

Grayson Downing scored Westside's other goal to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the second period. Downing added an assist for his 5th point in his last 2 games. He leads the series in scoring.

Once the Warriors took a 2-0 lead they did a solid job of clogging up the middle of the ice. For long stretches of the second and third period Trail was able to put some pressure on with their cycle game, but couldn't seem to create a lot of in tight opportunities.

The Smokies have failed to score now in five straight periods after scoring 8 times in the first 4.

Smiley was solid in making another 30 saves in the Trail goal. He has been their most consistent player of late with a playoff save percentage over 92%.

ON THE TRAIL: Injuries continue to mount for the Smokies. They started the series with only 10 healthy forwards and lost Darnell Dyck in game 1. Justin Brown returned to the line-up in game 3, but defenceman Curtis Tonello was the next to go as he didn't see the ice after the first period. Add Tonello and Dyck's names to Steve Oursov, Wade Bennett and Thomas Abenante on the injured list. That doesn't even include the number of players battling through painful injuries in the series as it has been a gutsy effort by the Trail roster ... The Smoke Eaters scored 3 power play goals in game 1 but have been held off the board in the next two games. They went 0 for 4 in game 3 ... Trail will welcome the Canadian sledge hockey team to the Cominco Arena during game 4. Puck drop is again at 7pm.

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