The Trail Smoke Eaters came close but couldn’t quite get it done on the weekend, suffering a pair of tough losses to the Chilliwack Chiefs.
After two promising victories the Smokies found themselves on the losing end again. In Saturday’s match, Josh Hansen scored on a breakaway late in the second period to put the Chiefs up 2-1. Hansen took a pass from Mathieu Tibbet and broke in all alone, slipping the puck through the pads of Smokies goalie Lyndon Stanwood.
Clayton McEwan started the scoring in the first period for the Smokies, heading the puck past the Chilliwack goalie Bryton Udy after he bobbled a Brent Baltus wrist shot. The Chiefs tied the game later in the period, would get the winning goal in the second and hold on despite being outshot 29-24 by the Smoke Eaters.
The loss came the day after a third period letdown where the Smokies gave up three unanswered goals to allow the Chiefs a 6-3 victory. The Smokies had taken a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Erik Cooper and Taylor House but the Chiefs fought back in the second to even the score. They broke it open in the third on in a game marred by a couple vicious hits.
Derek Huisman scored a hat trick for the Chiefs including an empty netter, after House netted his second of the night to bring the Smokies within two.
Smoke Signals: The Smoke Eaters also traded Nick Wong and Adam Boytinck in a three-way deal that brought them 18-year old Tanner Clarkson from the Nanaimo Clippers. Nanaimo then sent Wong and Boytinck to Grande Prairie for forwards Mike Sones and Dan Correale.
In Clarkson, the Smokies get a player with good offensive skills which should help the woeful Trail scoring attack, that has scored the fewest goals in the league.
Clarkson scored 8 points in the BCHL this season, but put up 42 points (24 goals, 18 assists) in 49 games as a 17 year-old with the KIJHL’s Kelowna Chiefs last year.