The Trail Smoke Eaters spoiled the Penticton Vees party on Thursday night, opening the BCHL Interior Conference series with a 5-3 victory at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Charlie Strobel broke a 3-3 tie finishing off a 2-on-1 with Zach Michaelis at 14:28 of the third period in Game 1 of the quarter-final series. Strobel made a quick move to the forehand then slipped the puck between the pads of Vees goalie Kaeden Lane for the 4-3 game winner.
The eighth seeded Trail looks to upset the league’s top seed and replicate their Game 7 win in Penticton in 2018.
Trail wasted no time in opening the scoring, tallying two goals 1:10 apart to take a 2-0 lead inside the first five minutes of period one. Ridge Dawson scored the first Smoke Eater playoff goal in over two years as he picked the corner on Lane as he came up the left side and into the Vees zone.
Michaelis chipped one in a minute later as he was left unmarked in front of the Vees net, giving the Smoke Eaters, from a Vees perspective, a shocking 2-0 lead.
The Vees began to chip away as Adam Eisele got Penticton on the board ten minutes later as he would find the loose puck in front of Cole Tisdale to make it 2-1.
The Smoke Eaters wasted no time restoring their two-goal lead as Josh Schenk got in on the scoring two minutes later to make it 3-1.
The Vees would get one more before the period was out after Tisdale made an acrobatic save. However, the Vees held the zone and got another opportunity seconds later when Jackson Nieuwendyk got a second opportunity to make it 3-2.
In the second the Vees came out hard, tying the game at the mid way point of the period as Casey McDonald scored on the powerplay.
The third period was executed as planned from the Smoke Eaters, who got the game winner off the stick of Charlie Strobel as Michaelis returned the favour from the first period goal for a game defining goal in the third.
The Vees would knock on the door but get answered every time by Tisdale and a team effort to block shots as the Smoke Eaters added an empty netter from Corey Cunningham to seal the victory.
Tisdale stopped 39 of 42 shots for a first star performance while Michaelis was named the second star in the win.
Game 2 goes Friday night back at the SOEC with puck drop set for 7 p.m.
With files from Trail Smoke Eaters