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Smoke Eaters defeat Conference rivals Warriors, Centennials

Ridge Dawson scores two in Trail Smoke Eaters 6-4 victory over West Kelowna Warriors
Smoke Eaters forward Jason Stefanek celebrates goal as Trail beat the West Kelowna Warriors 6-4 on Saturday. Photo: Jim Bailey

Ridge Dawson scored twice including the game winner to lift the Trail Smoke Eaters to a 6-4 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday at the Trail Memorial Centre.

Dawson tallied his 16th goal and 27th point of the season at 10:13 of the third period to give Trail a 5-3 lead, on a setup from Gryphon Bucci and Alec Whipple.

The win was the Smoke Eaters fourth in five games after defeating the Merritt Centennials on Friday, 5-3. West Kelowna suffered their third straight loss, following a 2-1 OT setback to Cranbrook Friday.

Trail’s Jason Stefanek opened the scoring on an unassisted effort 21 seconds after the opening faceoff.

Warriors forward Jack Pridham tied it with a power play goal 52 seconds later, but a pair of power-play markers from Adam Barone and Chase Stefanek put the Smoke Eaters up 3-1 after 20 minutes.

Dawson made it 4-1 on a nice feed from Josh Schenk 2:02 into the second period, but Felix Caron tallied his 24th of the season for the Warriors at 7:47 to cut the lead to 4-2.

Michael Salandra brought the Warriors to within one at 7:27 of the third period, but Dawson’s second of the night put the Smoke Eaters up 5-3.

Warriors Norwegian import Johannes Lokkeberg made it interesting scoring on the power play at 6:08 to make it 5-4, but Mathieu Cobetto-Roy scored his 22nd into an empty night with four seconds to play for the 6-4 final.

Trail outshot West Kelowna 30-28 and were 2-for-3 on the power play, while the Warriors went 2-for-2.

Dawson earned the game’s first star, Caron from the Warriors second star, and Baron third star.

In Friday’s game against the Centennials, Trail forward Max Potvin wired a shot from the point past Cents’ goalie Karlis Mezargs for the game winner and a 4-2 lead 14:13 into the third period.

The weekend wins for the Smoke Eaters improves their record to 20-14-6-0 good for fifth place in the Interior Conference, three points back of Vernon, 24-14-1-0 and six behind Salmon Arm, 25-12-0-2.

Chase Stefanek opened the scoring 11:18 into the first with assists to Potvin and Cameron Johnsen.

But the Centennials took the lead on goals from Jaxson Muray and CT Larochelle to make 2-1 after the opening frame.

Montreal product Cobetto-Roy tied it at two 5:05 into the second period, and Adam Parsons put the Smokies up 3-2 at 6:14.

After Potvin’s game winner, Michael Felsing brought the Cents to within one with the goalie pulled and 1:12 remaining, but Adam Marshall scored into an empty net with 19 seconds left for the 5-3 final.

Trail outshot Merritt 33-28 and scored one power play goal on two chances, while Merritt was 0-for-1.

Trail plays Merritt in a home-and-home next weekend starting in Merritt on Friday, Feb. 16 and in Trail at the Memorial Centre at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17.

Smoke Eaters notes: On the Feb. 10 trade deadline, Trail acquired 18-year-old defenceman Isaac Fecteau from the Vernon Vipers in exchange for future considerations. The six-foot 190 pound Trois Riviere, Que. product scored one goal and four points in 22 games this season.

On Feb. 8, Trail traded defenceman Patrick Reilly to the Coquitlam Express for future considerations.

Jim Bailey

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