The Greater Trail Tier 2 Bantam Smoke Eaters came up short of the final as they fell 5-2 to the Bow Valley Timber Wolves in the semifinal of the Greater Trail Minor Hockey Association’s Bantam Rep Tournament on Sunday at the Cominco Arena.
The Bantam Tier 2 Smoke Eaters went undefeated through the round robin, starting off with a strong 4-2 win over Tri City Americans Friday, and followed that up with a victory over the Castlegar Bantam Rebels by the same score Saturday morning.
The GTMHA Bantams then skated to a 4-3 victory over Bow Valley from Calgary Saturday afternoon but couldn’t duplicate the feat in Sunday’s semifinal when the number-1 seeded Smoke Eaters played the number-4 seed Timber Wolves. Trail fell behind early in the semifinal match and couldn’t solve the Bow Valley goalie in the second half of the game despite a significant edge in shots and puck possession.
It was a tournament of parity as only Trail went undefeated through the round robin. The eventual champion, Salmon Arm Silvertips, had lost to the Timber Wolves 2-1 in the round robin, but beat Castlegar 5-2 and Tri City 7-3, to win their pool. The Tips then defeated Spokane 10-5 in the other semi on their way to the championship game.
In the title match, the Silvertips led 4-1 in the third when Bow Valley, in desperation, pulled their goalie with six minutes to play. But the strategy backfired as Salmon Arm scored three empty-netters to take the title in a 7-1 drubbing of Bow Valley.