by Eddie Gregory
Trail goaltender Adam Marcoux made 30 saves to backstop the Smoke Eaters to a 4-1 victory over the Express Friday night. Click here for boxscore
Marcoux’s counterpart at the other end Clay Stevenson returned to the Express crease following spending the early portion of the week at Team Canada West selection camp for the World Junior A Challenge.
Stevenson was beat on the first shot he faced when Owen Ozar’s wrist shot from the right wing went past Stevenson’s glove on the short side just 1:21 into the game.
The teams traded a sequence of penalties resulting in a 4 on 3 powerplay for Trail and Stevenson made one of his better saves of the night getting a glove down to deny Kent Johnson at the side of the net.
Some of the best chances for the Express didn’t result in shots on goal with backdoor opportunities that were slightly off the mark.
Chase Danol was stopped on a two on one as he rushed in with Pito Walton after the defenceman stepped out of the penalty box.
Jared Power made his Express debut after being acquired from the Grande Prairie Storm (AJHL) last weekend.
He started the game playing with Hunter Alden and former midget teammate Dallas Farrell.
Power’s best chance of the first period was a screen shot after spinning off the boards and shooting through a screen only to see Marcoux take the shot in the chest. His quick release is what stood out from Power’s debut.
15 seconds into the second period following a Smoke Eaters face-off win in the Express zone, Kent Johnson alone at the side of the Express net buried the rebound over Stevenson for a 2-0 Trail lead.
The Express had good puck control and looked dangerous on back to back powerplays in the second period, but weren’t able to cut into the Trail lead. The Express finished 0 for 4 on the night.
This game had various moments where tempers started to flare. Regan Kimens was involved in a number of the middle period skirmishes. His most notable battle was with forward Tyler Ghirdosi after the whistle.
Late in the frame Michael Hodge went hard to the net and converted a pass off the rush from Ghirdosi for a 3-0 Trail lead after 40 minutes.
The pesky Smoke Eaters had 5 regulars out of the lineup and they put the game away with one of their AP’s Chase Dafoe scoring his first BCHL goal finishing off a pass from Carter Jones very much in similar fashion to Hodge’s goal late in the 2nd period.
Hunter Alden broke Marcoux’s shutout bid snapping home a set up from behind the Trail net for Alden’s 3rd of the season at 7:45.
As the game wound down the referees took control handing out numerous misconducts in addition to the original infractions when tempers continued to flare.
When all was said and done, Regan Kimens, Chase Danol, Connor Gregga, Henry Rybinski and Jack Cameron saw their nights come to an end early.
If you’re looking for a bright spot for the Express was the penalty killing finishing a perfect 6 for 6 when that unit has taken it’s hits in recent weeks.
The Express visit Surrey Saturday night.