The Trail Smoke Eaters’ struggles continued on Tuesday as they fell 9-3 to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and dropped to sixth place in the Interior Division.
Salmon Arm scored four unanswered goals in the second on their way to handing to Trail its third straight loss.
Trail’s loss coupled with the Merritt Centennials 3-1 win over the Vernon Vipers allowed the Cents to leapfrog past the Smokies out of the division cellar.
Nevertheless, Trail sits five points behind Vernon for the final playoff spot but Vernon holds three games in hand.
The Smokies have five games left in the regular including another two meetings with Salmon Arm.
The Silverbacks were on a mission to avenge a 5-3 defeat they suffered at the Cominco Arena to open February. They set the tone early with Nick Hutchinson’s goal just 36 seconds into the game.
Trail’s Max Newton and Harlan Orr scored for the Smokies in a high-scoring first period that saw the Silverbacks holding a 3-2 lead.
Salmon Arm took control in the second period with four goals including two by Carson Bolduc to complete his hat trick.
Newton added Trail’s third goal in the final frame.
Trail’s next game is Saturday against the Penticton Vees, who have already locked up the division and league titles.
Trail is back on home ice on Feb. 19 when they host the Merritt Centennials.