Trail Smoke Eaters goalie Logan Terness couldn’t have picked a better time to earn his second shut out of the season.
A three-goal third period broke open another close match up, as the Smoke Eaters cruised to a 4-0 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Monday at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena in Prince George.
Terness stopped 24 shots for the shutout and has been instrumental in the Smokies success in the post season, allowing just two goals in three playoff games.
“We’ve played three pretty consistent games,” Terness told Prince George Now after the game. “We just have to keep the momentum rolling, and keep playing exactly the same way.”
For Castlegar native and Spruce Kings head coach Alex Evin, his team has played well against a dynamic Smoke Eaters line up, but lacks the results, especially at home.
“It’s disappointing,” Evin said after the game. “We’re having a hard time playing at home. It’s been our Achilles’ heel all year. Our home record is very, very sub-par and we’re in the game, we’re just having a hard time figuring out how to win at home.”
For the second straight game, Owen Ozar tallied the game winner on a setup from Kent Johnson to give the Smokies a 1-0 lead. The Denver commit took a breakaway pass from Johnson and deked out Kings goalie Jett Alexander, just 60 seconds into the middle frame.
The win gives the Smoke Eaters a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Interior Division quarter-final, and their second straight shut-out win in Prince George. Trail blanked the Spruce Kings, 3-0, earlier in the season and 9-2 in a January tilt, so it was important for Trail to exorcise their scoring demons after two close 2-1 games.
“It’s super important for us especially winning 2-1 in both tight games,” said Terness. “It was good to get up 4-0, and take hope away from them a little bit. For our team, it was pretty big.”
The Smoke Eaters dominated the Spruce Kings in the opening frame, outshooting them 12-7, but the Kings goalie was the great equalizer, stealing prime chances from Kent Johnson and Matt Osadick.
The Spruce Kings also had a few good looks on a first period power play but Terness came up big for Trail.
Trail made it 2-0 on a Michael Colella goal, who banked it off of Alexander’s back and in at 15:13. Five minutes later Philippe Lapointe scored on the power play, on a back door tip in off a Diarmad DiMurro pass.
The Smoke Eaters put the icing on the proverbial cake with another power-play goal with 2:44 to play. After Preston Brodziak was sent off for four minutes for a high stick, Colella found Chase Dafoe in front who redirected the hard pass in for a 4-0 final.
Trail outshot Prince George 33-24 and went 2-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Ozar received first star, Colella second star, and Nick Bochen the third star for P.G.
Trail and Prince George played Game 4 on Tuesday night but the result was unavailable at press time.
If the Smoke Eaters win they would sweep the series 4-0, while a Spruce Kings victory would force Game 5 in Prince George on Thursday.
In other action on Monday, Salmon Arm took a 3-0 series lead over the Victoria Grizzlies with a 3-2 victory, while Surrey beat Chilliwack 3-2, and trail in the Mainland Division series, 2-1.