For the second week in a row, the Trail Smoke Eaters came so close to skating to a victory but ended up losing their edge in overtime.
After falling 5-4 in overtime to Merritt last week, the Smokies again found themselves in extra frames against the Prince George Spruce Kings Saturday only to lose 4-3 in double OT.
Myles Fitzgerald jumped on a turnover at the Prince George blue line, 1:15 into the second overtime, and skated in all alone on Trail goalie Lyndon Stanwood. The Spruce Kings forward made a quick fake, before backhanding the game winner over a sprawling Stanwood to win the game and put Prince George into a second-place tie with Merritt in the BCHL Interior Division.
The Smokies missed a glorious opportunity to win the game in the first overtime when Prince George goalie Kirk Thompson made an incredible blocker save, robbing Connor Tiechko on a 2-on-1 with Erik Cooper.
The Smokies again iced only 13 skaters with Marley Keca, Adam Fares, Brandon Long, Luke Bertolucci, and Joren Johnson sidelined with injuries.
Despite the ailments and going up against a full 18-man roster on the Spruce Kings bench, the Trail side put forth a great effort, jumping out to a 3-1 lead in the second before the Spruce Kings mounted their comeback.
Garrett McMullen re-directed a Brandon Egli shot to open the scoring in the first period then deposited Cooper’s rebound to put the Smokies up 2-0.
Jarryd Ten Vaanholt got the Spruce Kings on the board on a power play before Brent Baltus restored the two-goal lead.
Michael Colantone made a brilliant individual effort, skating by the Trail defence and out waiting Stanwood for a short-handed marker.
Gerry Fitzgerald tied the game on a power play, banging home a loose puck when Stanwood lost sight of it after it bounced off the post and lay behind him.
The Smoke Eaters’ McMullen was named first star and has been on a hot streak of late, netting 10 points in his last eight games including five goals in his last three matches.
Stanwood was steady again between the pipes; the former KIJHL rookie of the year faced 39 shots while the Smokies directed 33 at Thompson.
Their last home game goes Friday at the Cominco Arena at 7:30 p.m.