The Vees look to stay undefeated in BCHL pre-season action when they host the Trail Smoke Eaters at the SOEC tonight; face-off 7pm.
The Vees are coming off a 2-0 shutout win over the West Kelowna Warriors on Monday, that followed a 3-3 with the Tribe a night earlier. The Smokies are playing their first “BCHL” pre-season game after beating Selkirk College 8-6 Tuesday at Cominco Arena.
The Vees and Smokies last met on March 10th on the final day of the BCHL regular season for the 2012-2013 season. It was a quirky schedule, as the Vees played the Smokies in three of their last four games to close out the regular season. Trail took the finale 4-2 at Cominco.
Bill Birks is entering his third season with Trail and is looking to take the team back to the post-season after a two-year hiatus. Last March the Smokies were in a dog-fight with Salmon Arm Silverbacks for the fourth and final playoff seed in the Interior Division. The ‘Backs ended up clinching the final spot on the second to last day of the regular season.
Trail has a good group of returning forwards with the likes of Scott Davidson, Jake Lucchini, Jesse Knowler, Adam Wheeldon, Bryce Knapp and Mitch Foyle BCHL veteran Brendan Lamont joins the forward contigent via a trade from Merritt. On the back-end Braden Pears, Braeden Jones and Valik Chichkin are back and Birks went out and picked up Curtis Toneff from the Winkler Flyers of the MJHL. Don’t forget about Adam Todd in-goal who solidified himself as a number one last spring. Birks brought in Dustin Nikkel to push Todd, as Nikkel showed he is BCHL ready last season during a stint with the Silverbacks.
The Vees will be dressing a more youthful line-up upfront, going with 11 forwards and just two returnees in Cody DePourcq and Josh Blanchard. The back-end will be more seasoned, as the Vees will dress seven. Hunter Miska gets the start in-goal after Olivier Mantha posted a 22-save shutout on Monday,
Tonight’s game will be broadcast on FASTHOCKEY, with Fraser Rodgers and Trevor Miller. Tune-in starting at 6:45 with the pre-game show.