The Trail Smoke Eaters failed to tame the red-hot Wenatchee Wild in the team’s first venture south of the border in franchise history on Saturday.
In front of 2,200 fans in Wenatchee, the homtown squad rebounded from a 1-0 first-period deficit to reel off six unanswered goals for a 6-1 victory.
The matchup featured two of the league’s hottest teams. Wenatchee had won six straight coming into the game, while the Smokies were on their own streak of success with five wins in its last six games.
The showdown also highlighted the top four scorers in the league. The Wild’s Brendan Harris leads the league with 41 points followed by teammate Charlie Combs, who tops the league with 25 goals, at 36 points. Trail’s Luke Santerno is third in league scoring with 35 points while teammate Kale Howarth is tied for fourth in the scoring race with 32 points.
Santerno continued his torrid scoring streak when he opened the scoring with less than three minutes to play in the opening frame. Santerno’s 17th goal of the season was his seventh in the past three games.
The Wild quickly erased that deficit with two goals in the first two minutes of the second period to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Although Smokies goalie Zach Dyment shut the door for the rest of the period, another outburst by the Wild to start the third, again with two goals in the opening two minutes, locked up the game.
Wenatchee’s Brian Williams scored his second of the game at the three-minute mark prompting Trail head coach Cam Keith to send in Linden Marshall to relieve Dyment who faced 42 shots in 43 minutes of action.
Things got testy midway through the final period as fights led to several ejections including Trail’s Ryan Warner and Kyle Chernenkoff.
Wenatchee added an empty-net goal to seal the win and hand Trail a loss in its first trip across the border.
During Wenatchee first season in 2015, Trail met the Wild at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack, which counted as a Wenatchee home game, and avoided the trip to the U.S. last season. The teams met in Trail last December with the Smokies scoring a 4-2 win.
Regardless of Saturday’s result, Trail still holds a three-point lead over the Vernon Vipers for second place in the Interior Conference.
Trail was coming off a solid 5-3 win over the West Kelowna Warriors on Thursday night at the Cominco Arena. Santerno potted a pair of goals as Trail grabbed a 4-0 first period lead before West Kelowna began chipping away at the lead. Braeden Tuck, Howarth and Josh Laframbroise added singles while Dyment made 18 saves for the win.
The Smokies are back on the team bus ina couple of days as they head to the coast for games in Powell River on Friday, Alberni Valley on Saturday and Victoria on Sunday.
Trail’s next home game is on Nov. 25 against the Chilliwack Chiefs.