It was a tough weekend for the Trail Smoke Eaters as they dropped a pair of home games against the Vernon Vipers and Powell River Kings.
Trail squandered a 3-2 third period lead, falling to the Kings 5-3 on Sunday, after a 9-5 drubbing by the Vipers on Saturday night.
The King’s J.J. Coleshaw scored the winning goal on a power play at 3:56 into the third period when he tipped in a Jacob Pritchard Point shot to take a 4-3 lead. With Charlie Zuccarini in the box for slashing, the Kings worked the puck to Pritchard who wristed the puck from the point, and as it went through traffic Coleshaw was able to redirect it and beat Trail goalie Adam Todd under the arm.
The Smoke Eaters had a golden opportunity on Sunday to take two points from a short-handed and road-weary Powell River team, but could not capitalize on ample scoring chances as they outshot the visitors 37-26 in the match. The Kings were without top forwards Jarod Lukosevicius, Kurt Keats, and Brent Lashuk, second-highest scoring defenceman Carmine Buono and goalie Stefan Wornig
The Smokies had dominated the game over the first two periods outshooting the Kings 27 to 16 but were tied at two heading into the third.
Dallas Calvin opened the scoring on the power play, when he tipped in a Zuccarini slap-pass from the high slot to give the Smokies a 1-0 lead. But Powell River responded at 16:34 when Johnny Evans jumped on a rebound and lifted it over a sprawling Todd. The Kings would then take the lead on the power play. Pritchard wheeled from behind the net and wired it by Todd to make it 2-1 with just two minutes remaining in the first period.
The Smokies drew even in the second when Paulsen Lautard fired a pretty back-hand pass from Kienan Scott to tie the game at 2-2 with 3:12 remaining in the middle frame. With 50 seconds remaining in a penalty to Pritchard to start the third, it would take Calvin only 33 seconds before netted his second on the night and fifth of the season, wiring a wrist shot from the top of the circle over the blocker of Powell River goalie Brett Magnus to give the Smokies a 3-2 lead.
However, the lead was short-lived as Pritchard beat Todd 26 seconds later to tie it, and after Coleshaw’s winner, Mitchell Hawes would add an insurance marker jumping on a puck that was mishandled by Todd to make it 5-3.
The Smokies had two power play chances in the final seven minutes to get back in the game but could not generate any sustained pressure, even with a 6-on-4 advantage after pulling their goalie with over three minutes remaining.
The loss follows hard on a forgettable effort against the Vipers where Vernon jumped out to a 5-1 first-period lead on their way to a 9-5 victory.
See Tuesday’s Trail Times for more on the Trail Smoke Eaters.