The Trail Smoke Eaters were left licking their wounds Saturday night after the Penticton Vees steam rolled through town on the weekend.
In Friday night’s home opener, Penticton built up a 5-0 lead en route to a 5-1 win. Saturday was no better for Trail as the Vees scored four power plays goals and one shorthanded tally in a 7-0 win.
It was hard to find a bright spot on the Smokies side and head coach Bill Birks didn’t mince words.
“I can’t remember two games like that. Ever,” he said following Saturday’s loss.
“We’re scared, can’t handle the puck, can’t stop the puck. We held them to 22 shots and they scored seven goals.
“Last weekend we were lights out. We played five really good periods last weekend. We didn’t have five good shifts this weekend.”
After Friday’s tough loss in the season’s home opener, things didn’t get much better on Saturday as Patrick Sexton spotted Penticton a 1-0 lead just 57 seconds into the game.
After that it was a parade of penalties for both sides the only difference was Penticton connected on its chances.
The Vees scored three power play goals in the first period, including one with 33 seconds left to take a 4-0 lead into the dressing.
Both teams had over a minute of two-man advantage but it would be the Vees scoring twice while Trail came up empty.
“For the last two weeks we worked a lot on special teams,” said Penticton coach Fred Harbinson. “Ironically we worked a lot on being down five-on-three just last week for the first time. It paid off this weekend.”
Things didn’t improve in the second period as Penticton also established its physical presence winning most of the puck battles.
“We didn’t win any puck battles,” agreed Birks. “We didn’t win any faceoffs. We couldn’t get the puck out of our end. And when we did we would lose it at centre.”
Penticton kept up the pressure in the second despite Trail holding a four-minute stretch on the power play.
However, again Penticton outscored Trail in the period and carried a 6-0 lead into the final frame.
The Smokies had more jump in the third, won some puck battles and mounted a bit of pressure but following the pattern of the entire night, it would be the Vees scoring the lone goal in the final period, shorthanded.
Anthony Conti potted a pair of goals for the Vees Saturday while Max Coatta finished the weekend with two goals and five points.
Trail outshot the Vees 32-23 but Penticton goaltender Hunter Miska stood tall and chalked up his first shutout of the season.
Harbinson downplayed his team’s dominating performance and expects Trail to bounce right back.
“Two years ago we got beat 6-1 in Chilliwack in our second game of the season. We went on to win 42 in a row that year.
“The old saying ‘You can’t get too high and can’t get too low,’ Trail will be fine, they’re a good team.
“We had a lot of respect for Trail after watching them last week and maybe they were a little flat coming home. But at the same team I thought our guys, in all areas of the game, were pretty solid.
Meanwhile, Birks had plans to get his team ready for Tuesday’s home tilt with Merritt.
He said the team would run in Sunday’s Terry Fox Run then return to the rink for some hard work in practice.
“It’s not going to be a fun day.”