Trail goalie Bailey MacBurnie makes a big pad save against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday at the Cominco Arena

Smoke Eaters drop two at home

The Trail Smoke Eaters' third period proved their Achilles heel, as the Smokies let two games get away from them on the weekend.

The Trail Smoke Eaters dropped a pair of games on the weekend, losing to the Langley Rivermen and Salmon Arm Silverbacks to remain mired in the basement of the Interior division of the BCHL.

Mental breakdowns and plain bad luck have become features of the Smokies third periods this season. After drawing within one of the Rivermen on Friday, Langley scored three unanswered to skate to a 5-1 victory, and on Saturday Trail tied the game twice in the third period only to lose 6-3 to their Interior rival Silverbacks.

Salmon Arm’s Carson Bolduc netted the winner, taking a pretty back pass from Nick Hutchison and ripped a snap shot from the slot by Trail goalie Bailey MacBurnie with six and a half minutes to play in the final frame to take a 4-3 lead.

Goals have been hard to come by for the Smokies scoring just four times in three games prior to their match against Salmon Arm. The Silverbacks got on the board just 97 seconds into the first period on a low shot from Elijah Barriga. Trail had back-to-back power play opportunities in the period but couldn’t capitalize as the ‘Backs outshot Trail 11-10.

Following the tentative first period, the Smokies Jake Kaupilla tallied his fourth of the season deflecting in a point shot from Bennett Morrison past Salmon Arm goalie Angus Redmond to tie it 55 seconds into the second period. However, with time winding down in the middle frame, ‘Backs defenceman Cameron Trott sniped a shot past MacBurnie to tally his first of the season.

MacBurnie once again kept it close making a great pad save off Josh Blanchard on the doorstep then sliding over to take a sure goal from Taro Hirose.

After Phil Middleton of the Silverbacks was called for interference, Kienan Scott drew Trail even scoring the team’s sixth PP goal of the season, as he took a dish from Nick Halloran and wired it top shelf on Redmond 8:19 into the third.

But Salmon Arm again would take the lead less than two minutes later, when a Colton Thibeault centring pass from a tight angle ricocheted off the Smokies defenceman and past MacBurnie to put the ‘Backs back in front 3-2. The Smoke Eaters forward Kurt Black would again tie it 47 seconds later, finishing a pretty 2-on-1pass from Scott to make it 3-3.

However, after Bolduc’s winner, Salmon Arm’s two Josh’s, Laframboise and Blanchard scored in the final five minutes including an empty netter to salt away their eighth victory of the season . The ‘Backs outshot Trail 37-33 with Redmond getting the first star nod, while Scott picked up second star honours, and Bolduc the games’ third star.

On Friday, Langley scored three unanswered goals in the third period on their way to a 5-1 victory over Trail. Following goals from Mathew Graham and Adam Sinclair, Trail’s Max Newton made it 2-1 heading into the third, but goals from Jason O’Neil, Torrin White, and Justion Fregona put the game away for Langley.

Trail outshot the Rivermen 45-43 but couldn’t beat Langley goalie Bo Didur in the late going. Didur was named the game’s first star, Fregona second star, and Trail goalie MacBurnie earned third star on the night.

The Smokies fall to 4-9 and will look to make up ground when they host the Merritt Centennials on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Cominco Arena.

See more on the Smoke Eaters in Tuesday’s Trail Times.

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