The Trail Smoke Eaters rallied late but couldn’t complete the comeback against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday, in the Smokies only match on the weekend.
The Silverbacks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period as Josh Blanchard and Josh Laframboise scored 28 seconds apart, while outshooting Trail 13-4.
Three minutes into the middle frame, Blanchard and Laframboise teamed up again to help set up the winning goal by Marcus Mitchell, who beat Smokie goalie Bailey Macburnie to give the Backs a 3-0 lead.
After Ross Armour was sent off for interference, Salmon Arm’s Ross Heidt completed a nice play from Taro Hirose and Carson Bolduc to make it 4-0 on the power play at 5:19.
Trail pushed back as Evan MacEachern took a Max Newton pass and rifled it by Silverbacks goalie Angus Redmond to make it 4-1 heading into the third.
Macburnie kept the Smoke Eaters in it until Newton netted his second point of the night and fourth of the season on another power play with less than three minutes remaining to draw the Smokies within two. However, Silverbacks leading scorer Nick Hutchison capped the night off with an empty-netter late.
Salmon Arm outshot Trail 36-20 with Redmond getting the win in net for the Backs while Macburnie suffered the loss. It was the Silverbacks fifth win of the season, and they currently sit just two points back of first place Penticton who have won seven in a row since losing to Salmon Arm, 4-2, in their first game of the season.
The Smoke Eaters face the Vees in Penticton on Wednesday. The 7-1-0-0 Vees sit atop the Interior division and are led by potential first round draft picks Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro and are coming off a 5-2 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Saturday.
Trail’s next home game goes on Friday when they host the Spruce Kings at 7:30 p.m.