A berth in the playoffs is slowing slipping away from the Trail Smoke Eaters, as the team lost a close 4-2 match to the West Kelowna Warriors on Tuesday.
Kelowna forward Max French fired a rebound past Smoke Eater goalie Adam Todd, to break a 2-2 tie 3:09 into the third period, to pace the Warriors to a 4-2 win.
The victory impeded Trail’s chances of catching Salmon Arm SilverBacks who remain four points ahead of Trail for the fourth and final playoff berth in the BCHL Interior division.
Trail got off to a solid start when Austin Adduono took a Brett Hambrook pass and made a nice move to the backhand to beat Warrior goalie Tyler Briggs midway through the opening frame.
However, the Warriors regrouped in the second when Seb Lloyd knotted things at 1-1 two minutes in, beating Todd five whole.
A Smokies penalty gave the Warriors the advantage, and West Kelowna’s leading scorer Marcus Basara made them pay, sniping a quick shot on a pass from Josh Monk to go ahead 2-1.
Trail would not roll over as they came out hard in the third. Enjoying a 5-on-3, Shane Poulsen blasted a shot from the point that Garrett McMullen tipped past Briggs 43 seconds into the final frame.
But French would notch his 16th goal of the season to put the Warriors ahead for good. Brett Zarazun scored an empty netter with just 17 seconds remaining.