It looked like fun, Wednesday night at Comimco Arena, and for the Smokies and their supporters, it felt like it, too.
In case you are among the many purported local hockey fans who missed it, Trail got down three goals in less than four minutes, were behind, 4-1 after five and, after changing goalies, trailed 5-1 at the end of the first period against a hot Vernon Vipers squad which featured most of its top-end players and its number one goalie.
Then, amazingly and happily, Trail came back, this time all the way, to knock off the Vipers, 6-5, in regulation time.
Adam Todd, who came in after five minutes and four goals by Vernon, stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced, including all 21 in the final 40 minutes, the Smokies converted all three of their power play chances in that time, and after their best scorers had gotten the tally close, two less than prolific newcomers each scored their third goal of the season to push the Smokies over the winning line.
As I said, it was fun, as much for the fans as the obviously overjoyed players who are finishing out a season of turmoil and disappointment.
It makes no difference in the standings, for either team, but it was nice for everybody that was there to see the energy with which the Smoke Eaters, the league’s lowest scoring team, responded to being pummeled and plundered in the first period.
There seems still very little to look forward to, barring Todd and a very few other roster members who are obviously junior A calibre talents, for 2014/15, but it is nice that the team has sucked up the disappointment of the year and given its best effort in its home barn.
I think it is fair to expect a large turnout of local fans tonight for the last home game of the season. The West Kelowna Warriors are battling for first place in the interior division, kids and students get in free, there must be a boatload of unused tickets floating around that will be useless tomorrow and the Smoke Eaters will announce the winners of their largest-ever fundraiser during the game.
It was fun Wednesday, it might be tonight and it is obvious the kids in the orange and black sweaters appreciate home support. Should be a big game time 50-50 to go with the huge 50-50 already prepared, too.
The season has not gone well, the Smokies playoff hopes went away almost with a whimper, but there is no reason we can’t send these kids, who have tried their best, home with a bang.
•I don’t know if it was an ironic mistake or a clever acknowledgement of reality, but I found it very fitting that the closing montage for the CBC Sochi coverage was backed by the Tragically Hip classic tune with the refrain, “When you’re blowing high dough.”