Phillipe Lapointe tapped in the game winning goal with just over three minutes remaining in regulation to lift the Trail Smoke Eaters to a 2-1 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings.
Owen Ozar found Kent Johnson in front and the BCHL MVP made a slick pass to Lapointe at the left post for the game winning goal.
The dramatic finish saw the Smoke Eaters trail the Spruce Kings 1-0 for more than 55 minutes at the Trail Memorial Centre on Friday. But Matt Osadick took a pass from Max Kryski at the left hash mark and wired a wrister past P.G. goalie Jett Alexander to tie the game with 4:29 to play.
The thrilling victory gives the Smoke Eaters a 1-0 series lead in the opening round of the Interior Division quarterfinal.
The Spruce Kings opened the scoring on a 5-on-3 power play goal from Nick Bochen, whose shot from the left circle beat screened Smokies’ goalie Logan Terness.
The Smoke Eaters pushed back but Alexander was solid between the P.G. pipes and foiled every chance through two periods.
Trail outshot the Spruce Kings 37-26, and were 0-for-6 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Lapointe earned the game’s first star, goalie Terness named second star and Alexander from the Spruce Kings the third star.
Trail hosts the Spruce Kings Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Cominco Arena.