Trail Smoke Eaters' leading scorer Brent Baltus looks misses an opportunity against Salmon Arm Saturday

Trail Smoke Eaters' leading scorer Brent Baltus looks misses an opportunity against Salmon Arm Saturday

Salmon Arm deals Trail Smoke Eaters a major setback

The Trail Smoke Eaters battled hard but ultimately came up short in an effort to take charge of their own playoff destiny.

The Salmon Arm SilverBacks did their best this weekend to dash the hopes of a post-season berth for the Trail Smoke Eaters this season.

Over 1,000 fans and minor hockey players celebrated minor hockey week by cheering on the Smoke Eaters Saturday, unfortunately, Salmon Arm spoiled the party. Following a 3-1 win over the Smokies Friday in Salmon Arm, the Backs came back to beat the Smokies 4-3 in overtime at the Cominco Arena on Saturday.

Alex Gillies finished a 2-on-1 with Shane Hanna at 2:24 of the first overtime period, taking a cross-ice pass and lifting it over the shoulder of Smokies goalie Adam Todd, to complete the come from behind victory.

The Smoke Eaters’ Adam Wheeldon put the Smokies up 1-0 five minutes into the first period, but the Gorillas tied it in the second on a redirection off the stick of Ryan Schwalb, then took a 2-1 lead at 17:59, when a Schalbe shot was kicked out by Todd but Jordan Levesque banged in the rebound.

The Smokies came out strong in the third period, and evened the score when Garrett McMullen made a wristed one that deflected past rookie goalie Angus Redmond at 5:12 into the third. Trail’s Scott Davidson put the  Smokies up 3-2 burying a pass from Brent Baltus at 10:40, but Salmon Arm’s Alex Gillies would tie it with less than four minutes to go in regulation when a shot caromed off the back boards right to Gillies at the side of the net to bang home the tying goal.

Todd played well for the Smoke Eaters especially in the final minutes when he made a couple of great glove saves to keep the Smokies in it. But the SilverBacks would not be denied as they moved three points ahead of Trail in the Interior division standings.

Trail next hits the road for a three game stint against Nanaimo Friday, Alberni Saturday, and Langley on Sunday.

Read more on the Smokies in the Tuesday edition of the Trail Times.