The Trail Smoke Eaters opened their exhibition series against the Cranbrook Bucks with a different look and a 7-4 victory on Saturday at the Cominco Arena. Photo courtesy of Geoff Fontes/Trail Smoke Eaters.

The Trail Smoke Eaters opened their exhibition series against the Cranbrook Bucks with a different look and a 7-4 victory on Saturday at the Cominco Arena. Photo courtesy of Geoff Fontes/Trail Smoke Eaters.

Trail Smoke Eaters explode for seven, beat Cranbrook Bucks in exhibition opener

There was no shortage of offence or physicality in Trail Smoke Eaters victory over Cranbrook Bucks

The Trail Smoke Eaters and Cranbrook Bucks delivered an entertaining and lively match in their first exhibition game of the BCHL season.

Chase Dafoe, Connor Sweeney, and Connor Michaud each scored two goals in a 7-4 Trail victory over the Bucks on Saturday night at the Trail Memorial Centre.

The Smokies iced a mix of veterans and rookies, and while the team earned the win, Trail head coach and GM Tim Fragle expects improvement as the exhibition season wears on.

“I thought the first period was pretty good, but in the second we got into penalty trouble and let them back in the game and in the third period, there was nothing called, so we separated ourself there in the third,” said Fragle. “But to be honest, I’m not really surprised. The kids have been off a long time since they played the last structured game and it showed, so we have a lot of work to do.”

Nicolas Roussel scored the game-winning goal and his first as a Smoke Eater taking a return pass from Trail captain Cody Schiavon and beating Bucks goalie Jacob Zacharewicz for a 5-3 lead at 16:33 of the third period.

The win is a warmup for the Kootenay Cup, which will commence after the first two games of the Smokies-Bucks nine-game exhibition series, and be a best-of-seven format.

“I think it gives the whole team something to play for. Also, starting a new rivalry in the league, it will be good for both communities to have something like this, not just this year but also moving forward.”

Trail took an early lead at 7:04 of the first period on a goal from Chase Dafoe. The Smokies veteran knocked down a bouncing puck off the backboards and snuck it past the Bucks goalie to put Trail up 1-0.

Trail went 0-for-3 on the power play in the first period, thanks to a solid penalty kill and a number of Bucks blocked shots, but edged Cranbrook in shots 11-10.

The Smoke Eaters came out determined in the second period. Connor Michaud spun out of the corner, and put in his own rebound for a 2-0 lead at 1:31. Just 26 seconds later, Dafoe scored his second of the night, taking a pass in front from Jackson Krill and going backhand-forehand for a 3-0 lead.

Trail, however, got into penalty trouble and Cranbrook made them pay. The Bucks’ first franchise goal came on a second-period power play, as Zeth Kindrachuk blasted a shot past Logan Terness to cut the lead to two on a setup from Noah Leibl and former Kootenay Ice forward Noah Quinn.

Things got heated midway through the period, as a scrum broke out at centre ice, and Trail’s top line of Dafoe, Jaden Senkoe and Coalson Wolford along with defenceman Schiavon were all sent off with misconducts or minors, along with their Cranbrook counterparts Cam Reid and Kindrachuck.

With the new COVID rules, the referees stayed out of the scrum, and penalized players for any further aggression after a warning.

“With altercations after the whistle, they (the referees) are not getting in unless the gloves come off, so then that pushing and shoving with your gloves on can escalate,” said Fragle. “And that wasn’t a great situation on both sides, I mean there could have been more penalties, but it was one of those things that gave the players and the refs a bit of a feeling out period.”

Bucks forward Dane Dowiuk took advantage of the extra-man and sniped a point shot over the glove of Terness to cut the lead to 3-2 just past the halfway mark of the second period.

The line of Roussel, Krill and Michaud struck again in the second. Roussel kept the puck in along the wall and worked it to Michaud down low and the Calgary native wired a shot from behind the goal line to make it 4-2 Trail.

The Bucks fired 22 shots at Terness in the second to hold a 32-19 edge in shots on goal.

Cranbrook quickly cut the lead to one, when Walker Gelbard scored 2:19 into the third period. Roussel restored the two goal lead, but Quinn counted his first as a Buck 15 seconds later when he fired in a Leibl pass to make it 5-4.

Sweeney put Trail up 6-4 at 10:20, and delivered the final blow with 2:17 to play, when he broke in over the blue line and sniped his second of the night top shelf for a 7-4 victory.

Cranbrook outshot the Smoke Eaters 44-32 and went 2-for-6 on the power play, while Trail was 0-for-5. For their first game in franchise history, the Bucks were hard to put away, and kept fighting back throughout the match.

“I thought they (Cranbrook) skated well, they had good speed, I thought they played hard and they put a lot of pucks on net,” said Fragle.

Michaud earned the game’s first star, with Dafoe taking second star honours, and Dowiuk of Cranbrook the third star.

Trail hosts Cranbrook next Saturday with the puck drop at 7 p.m.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Item no 22, De-Kieviet Kindergarten class - Highlands, Starting Bid: $20
Christmas Village 2020 school auction items

The annual Christmas Village has gone virtual, here are the auction items from local schools

It happened in 1913

Nov. 22 - 28: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Urban wildlife Part VI: The East Kootenay birds of autumn

The work of local photographers printed in the pages of the East Kootenay Advertiser throughout 2020. Part VI.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

The bids for the 2020 Christmas Village are open as of noon on Thursday, November 26. Please scroll through this album to see auction items available for bidding.
Christmas Village 2020 auction items

The Christmas Village has gone virtual, here are all the details

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read