Smoke Eaters goalie Teagan Kendrick and Salmon Arm’s Maddux Martin fight for the bouncing puck in a 4-1 Silverbacks win on Sunday at the Trail Memorial Centre. Photos: Jim Bailey

Smoke Eaters goalie Teagan Kendrick and Salmon Arm’s Maddux Martin fight for the bouncing puck in a 4-1 Silverbacks win on Sunday at the Trail Memorial Centre. Photos: Jim Bailey

Smoke Eaters drop two tough matches to Vees and ‘Backs

Trail Smoke Eaters take Penticton to shootout Saturday, stymied by Salmon Arm goalie on Sunday

The Trail Smoke Eaters deserved more than a single point on the weekend.

The Smoke Eaters were a post away from ending the Penticton Vees 17-game winning streak on Saturday only to lose in a shootout, and Trail suffered the same puck luck in a loss to Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Sunday.

Trail outplayed Salmon Arm but couldn’t cash in on a handful of breakaways and posts in a 4-1 setback.

Silverbacks defenceman William Lavigne scored the game winner, moments after a Salmon Arm penalty expired. Lavigne forced a turnover at the Trail blue line, then walked around a Smokies defender and snapped a high shot over the glove of goalie Teagan Kendrick with 50 seconds to play in the first period.

Smoke Eater goalie Teagan Kendrick stops Salmon Arm forward Maddux Martin on this play as defender Ethan Willoughby closes in.

Smoke Eater goalie Teagan Kendrick stops Salmon Arm forward Maddux Martin on this play as defender Ethan Willoughby closes in.

The loss came less than 24 hours after Trail fell to the Vees in a thrilling 2-1 shootout.

Salmon Arm’s Brandon Santa Juana opened the scoring, firing in a cross-ice pass from Isaac Lambert for a power-play goal at 8:56 of the first period.

Five minutes later, Lambert was sent off for hooking, and on the ensuing power play the Smoke Eaters hit a cross bar, rang one off the post, then fired one by an open net all on the same play.

“There were some key moments in the game where we didn’t get a bounce,” said Smoke Eaters head coach and GM Tim Fragle. “It’s a 1-0 game and we get the power play and we get the double posts and a wide open net that we don’t get to, and they score right after that, and now you’re going to the second period down 2-0.”

Another close call as the Smoke Eaters slide one just past the far post.

Another close call as the Smoke Eaters slide one just past the far post.

The Smoke Eaters were also without five key players in forwards Quinn Disher, Trey Fechko, Josh Schenk, and Judah Makway and goalie Cole Tisdale. Fechko was coming off a breakout week, tallying nine points in three games on the Island road trip and earning the BCHL First Star honour.

“We got the most out of them last night, and I think the energy level was pretty drained from that emotional (game) but at the same time against good teams you have to find ways to scratch and claw points.”

Trail responded when Adam Marshall scored a power-play goal on a shot from the right circle to cut the lead to 2-1 at 7:29. Yet, just over a minute later, Jayden Grier slipped one past Kendrick to restore the two goal cushion with 6:02 to play in the middle frame.

“The bounces just weren’t going for us in the first 40 minutes,” said Fragle.

The Smoke Eaters manufactured several good scoring chances in the final frame but couldn’t capitalize. Forwards Ridge Dawson, Nic Remissong, and Adam Parsons all had breakaways but couldn’t solve ‘Backs goalie Matthew Tovell, as Trail outshot Salmon Arm 16-7 in the period.

Smoke Eaters forward Adam Parsons is stopped by Salmon Arm goalie Matthew Tovell on this third period breakaway.

“In the third period, we carried the play but I felt like our puck support was poor today,” said Fragle. “We had a lot of shots, but how many were really quality? I didn’t feel like they were.”

The Silverbacks Ethan Ullrick completed the scoring with 3:58 to play, beating Kendrick for his ninth of the season.

Trail outshot Salmon Arm 40-28 and went 1-for-4 on the power play, and 0-for-1 on the PK.

With the loss, Trail’s record falls to 7-9-1-1, while Salmon Arm takes over third spot in the Interior Conference with an 11-5-0-1 record and 23 points.

In Saturday’s match up, the Smoke Eaters played the league leading Penticton Vees to a 1-1 stalemate through three periods, and dominated the overtime only to fall in the shootout.

Smoke Eaters Jack Kurrle faces off against Salmon Arm captain Nathan Mackie.

It was not a great start for Trail, as Penticton held a 13-2 advantage in shots in the first period, and led 1-0 on a goal from Vees forward Thomas Pichette.

Parsons tied it midway through the second period, and ramped up the intensity heading into the third. The Smoke Eaters outshot Penticton 12-10 in the final frame but Vees goalie Luca Di Pasquo was the difference, stopping a Trail player on a breakaway with only three minutes remaining in regulation.

Trail fired six shots at Di Pasquo in the overtime including one off the post in the final minute. The Vees Josh Nadeau was the only shooter to score in the shootout, as Di Pasquo repelled all three Smoke Eaters.

Penticton outshot Trail 42-32 and were 0-for-1 on the power play. It was the first game that the 18-0-0-0 Vees have allowed more than 30 shots on goal, and didn’t score three or more goals in a game this season.

“We are win one, lose one right now, kind of bouncing back and forth,” added Fragle. “We need to go on a run here. Salmon Arm I think that’s their fifth win in a row tonight, we need to put together four or five wins now, and we need to do it sooner than later, or else you’re chasing the pack. For us to get there, we just need more consistency in our game.”

Fragle expects to have Fechko, Disher, and Schenk back for next weekend, and says Tisdale will return to practice with the team this week after being on the 30-day injury list.

Trail hosts the Prince George Spruce Kings on Friday and on Saturday, welcomes the Merritt Centennials to the Trail Memorial Centre with the puck drops at 7 p.m.

Read: Smokies Fechko earns BCHL First Star honour

BCHLjunior hockeyTrail Smoke Eaters