Trail Smoke Eaters drop three straight to Wild in Wenatchee. Photo: Jim Bailey

Trail Smoke Eaters drop three straight to Wild in Wenatchee. Photo: Jim Bailey

Home team Wenatchee takes three straight from Smoke Eaters

Wild secures seventh place, Smoke Eaters to play Penticton Vees in the first round of BCHL playoffs

The home team Wenatchee Wild was due, and made a statement sweeping the Trail Smoke Eaters in a three-game series last week.

The Wild skated to a 5-2 victory on Saturday evening at the Toyota Town Centre, locking up the seventh seed in the Interior Conference.

The Wild`s 22nd win comes after a 6-2 victory on Thursday and a 3-1 win on Friday night to move seven points in front of the 19-28-2-2 Smoke Eaters, who have just three games remaining.

Before heading to Wenatchee for the three-game tilt, the Smoke Eaters had won all four of their previous games against the Wild including a 47 save performance by Trail goalie Evan Fradette in a 2-1 Trail victory in Wenatchee on March 9.

Fradette, who already missed a month due to concussion, was injured again in a game against Salmon Arm on March 10, joining fellow netminders Cole Tisdale and Mason Dunsford on the sideline.

Beaver Valley Nitehawks goalie Owen Albers joined the team after the Nitehawks were eliminated by the Nelson Leafs in the Neil Murdoch final on Mar. 11. Albers will share the crease with Ethan Shebansky formerly of the Grand Forks Border Bruins.

In Saturday`s match, Wenatchee jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but a power-play goal by Corey Cunningham evened the game when he shoveled in a rebound off a Teddy Lagerback point shot midway through the opening frame.

The tie was short lived, however, as Ean Somoza scored 14 seconds later to send it to the second with the Wild up 2-1.

Wenatchee scored three more in the second period to chase Albers from the net and take a commanding 5-1 lead into the final frame.

Shebansky came in and held the Wild off the board in the third period stopping all 20 shots. Smokies forward Connor Michaud scored his seventh of the campaign finding a loose puck in front and slipping it past Wild netminder Andy Vlaha for the 5-2 final.

Wenatchee outshot the Smoke Eaters 44-34 and went 2-for-4 on the power play, while Trail was 2-for-5.

On Friday night, it was Wenatchee goalie Tyler Shea who stymied Trail shooters making 30 saves in the 3-1 Wild win.

Garrett Szydlowski, Cade Litter, and Jack Ivey put the home team up 3-0, before Trail captain Coalson Wolford scored his 11th on the power play to make it 3-1 with less than four minutes remaining.

Albers played well in the Trail net facing 35 shots from Wenatchee on the night.

In the opening match Thursday, March 17, four first period goals gave the Wild a 4-1 lead en route to a 6-2 drubbing.

Lagerback and Cunningham replied for Trail, while Cade Stibbe scored twice and added an assist and Somoza had three helpers for Wenatchee.

Trail outshot Wenatchee 37-31, and were 0-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the PK.

Trail travels to Vernon on Wednesday to take on the Vipers, and returns to the Trail Memorial Centre for its final home game of the regular season on Friday, March 25 versus the Wild with the puck drop at 7 p.m.

The Smoke Eaters wrap up the regular season with a game in Salmon Arm on Saturday, March 26 at 6 p.m.

The eighth seeded Trail will play the Penticton Vees in the first round of the BCHL playoffs.

Read: Smoke Eaters win in dramatic fashion over Centennials

BCHLTrail Smoke Eaters

 

Wild sweep series against Smoke Eaters.