Salmon Arm Silverbacks win back-to-back over Trail Smoke Eaters

With 14 games still to play, Birks is confident a playoff berth is attainable.

Over 1,000 fans and minor hockey players celebrated Minor Hockey Week by cheering on the Trail Smoke Eaters Saturday. Unfortunately, Salmon Arm did its best to dampen their enthusiasm.

Following a 3-1 loss to the SilverBacks Friday in Salmon Arm, the Smokies dropped their second game of the home-and-home in a devastating 4-3 overtime loss at the Cominco Arena on Saturday.

Ceding  four points to the Backs while picking up just a single point is indeed a setback says Smokies coach Bill Birks, but the team is not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

“I was disappointed on the outcomes of both game, but you know even Friday in Salmon Arm it was a good hockey game both ways,” said Birks. “They scored, we didn’t – it wasn’t like we didn’t show up or didn’t play well, we just couldn’t score goals when we needed to.”

The Backs have four games in hand on the Smokies as they battle for the final playoff spot in the Interior division, while West Kelowna has risen into a tie with Merrit for second/third spot thanks to only one loss in January, a 4-3 OT loss to Vernon.

But with 14 games still to play, Birks is confident a playoff berth is attainable.

“100 percent – you have to have a never quit attitude. It’s an uphill battle but ‘is it doable?’ –  for sure,” said Birks.

In Saturday’s match, 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 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 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 open net.

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 Sunday, and have just six games scheduled in the month of February, five of which are at home.

“Every guy playing right now is all bruised up , it’s that time of year and some time off is definitely going to help these guys.”

Just Posted

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters begin 24-hour blockade of Castlegar’s main street

Members of Extinction Rebellion plan to stay overnight

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read