BCHL: A rough road trip for Smokies

The Trail Smoke Eaters hit a couple of bumps on their weekend road trip.

The Trail Smoke Eaters hit a couple of bumps on their weekend road trip with a 7-4 loss to Salmon Arm on Friday, followed by a 4-1 setback to Prince George Spruce Kings Saturday.

Spruce Kings forward Brent Lashuk broke a 1-1 tie 8:38 into the third period to give Prince George its ninth win of the season and second spot in the Mainland division.

Trail forward Scott Davidson set up Brian Basilico who rifled a shot past Zach Dyment to open the scoring with a shorthanded goal 57 seconds into the second period to give the Smokies a short-lived 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, after the Smokies took a bench minor for too-many-men, Prince George’s Adam Clements would tie it on the power play as the Spruce Kings outshot the Smokies 20-13 through two periods.

The Smokies were hurt again offensively, when Kienan Scott left the game after a check-from-behind midway through the first period.

Forty-four seconds after Lashuk’s winning goal, Marco Ballarin would net an insurance marker to make it 3-1. Lashuk, a Kelowna native, would score his second of the night and fifth of the season into an empty net with 1:45 to play to make the final 4-1.

The Smoke Eaters usually potent power play went 0-for-7 on the night, while Prince George was 1-for-7 and outshot Trail 27-19.

On Friday, Salmon Arm gained a measure of revenge for a 4-1 loss to the Smokies in Trail on Wednesday. The ‘Backs scored two power play goals to take a 3-1 lead in the first period and never looked back. Taro Hirose scored twice and added an assist for the ‘Backs while Scott had two goals for the Smokies, and former Silverbacks Harlan Orr and Connor Brown-Maloski each scored a goal for Trail. Trail rallied for a bit of a comeback in the third making it 6-4 before Salmon Arm’s Carson Bolduc scored one into an empty net.

Shots on goal were 35 apiece while Salmon Arm went 2-fo4-3 on the power play, and Trail was 1-for-5. Orr was named third star of the  game.

The losses drop the Smoke Eaters into a tie for fifth in the Interior division with Salmon Arm, each with 14 points, but Trail has two-games in hand.

Trail’s next home game goes Friday, Hallowe’en night, against the Merritt Centennials at 7:30 p.m.