Two 2-0 teams go at it tonight in Trail, as the Vees and Smoke Eaters face-off at the old Cominco Arena. Both teams swept their BCHL Showcase schedule, the Vees posting 11-2 and 4-3 wins over Surrey and Alberni Valley. Trail thumped Coquitlam 8-3 and edged Powell River 4-3 in overtime.
Just over a year ago the Vees started their post-showcase schedule with a weekend sweep of the Smokies in Trail. The Friday night they took a convincing 7-1 win and then followed that up with a 5-1 win one night later. It was a big weekend for the Vees but one that can’t be repeated, schedule wise, at least.
There’s plenty of buzz around this Trail squad, results aside, the roster that Nick Deschenes has put together boasts a nice balance of depth and skill. One newcomer everyone is talking about is 20-year-old forward Charlie Zuccarini who scored five goals, yes, five goals and finished with six points in that 8-3 win over Coquitlam. One note to mention about their roster is the solid content of local Kootenay kids and they aren’t compliment pieces either. Craig Martin returns home after an off-season trade from the Bulldogs. Dallas Calvin is on his second tour of duty with the Smokies and is a big body (6’4 220 pounds) that can be a handful in the offensive zone. Returner Jake Lucchini is joined by younger brother Jeremy this year and the younger Lucchini is an undersized but highly skilled defenseman. Even Fred Harbinson said in the Penticton Herald this week that he hasn’t seen a Trail team like this in a few years.
Hunter Miska gets the start in net for the Vees and looks to push his early season record to 2-0. Miska looked solid in his season debut last Saturday against the Bulldogs but you have the feeling that he can kick it up a notch. Gabe Bast, after sitting out Saturday, will be back in the line-up tonight; he was fighting a minor hip-pointer.
Our broadcast gets going around 7:10pm and I say “around” as it’s the Smoke Eaters home opener. Expect a delayed start as I’m sure there will be some pre-game festivities at ice-level.