The Trail Smoke Eaters bounced back from a seven game losing streak with a pair of wins on the weekend.
The Smokies skated to a 5-2 win over Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday, and beat the Victoria Grizzlies 4-2 in front of a hometown crowd on Friday night.
Brent Baltus scored what proved to be the winning goal late in the first period, taking a nice pass from Garrett McMullen and going upstairs on Silverback goalie Colin Dzijacky to make the score 3-1.
Despite being outshot in both games, the orange and black jumped out to early leads, and continuously foiled opposition attack due to a solid defensive effort and exceptional goaltending from Lyndon Stanwood.
Luke Sandler continued his good play, putting the Smoke Eaters up 1-0 at 4:21 of the first, on a deflection off a Djordje Leposavic point shot. Leposavic then notched his second assist by setting up Connor Collett at the 6:56 mark, before Salmon Arm’s Harlan Orr rifled one by Stanwood.
Baltus’ game winner put Trail up 3-1, and he teamed up with McMullen again, setting up the captain this time for the only goal of the second period to give the Smokies a 4-1 lead.
Salmon Arm cut the lead by two on a power play at 5:47 of the third, and despite firing 15 shots at Stanwood, the Smokies defence held, and Baltus fired in an empty netter for the 5-2 final.
Tyler Berkholtz also pitched in with two assists, and Baltus and McMullen were named first and second stars of the game.
Whether it was 1,100 fans at the Cominco Arena Friday, or the presence of the National Sledge Hockey team, the Smoke Eaters didn’t disappoint, as they avenged a 4-3 loss exactly one week ago to the Victoria Grizzlies .
Victoria outshot the Smokies 18-2 in the third period and 41-16 overall, but Trail rode the stellar play of netminder and first star Lyndon Stanwood to a 4-2 home win.
Trail had just four shots in the first period but made good on one of them, a power-play marker by Braden Pears to open the scoring. Shane Poulsen put Trail up two in the second with another on the man advantage before Myles Fitzgerald broke the ice for Victoria.
Djordje Leposavic scored his first BCHL goal shortly after Fitzgerald’s tally and Jake Lucchini put Trail up three with a shorthanded tally early in the third. Brett Hartskamp tallied late to bring the Grizz within two but that’s as close as they would get.
Stanwood received first star honours, while Shane Poulsen received second star for his two-point night and Myles Fitzgerald third star.
The Grizzlies rebounded after the loss to the Smokies with a 3-2 overtime win against league leading Penticton Vees on Saturday.
The Smoke Eaters next game goes Friday night at the Cominco Arena, as they host the Chilliwack Chiefs at 7:30 p.m.