Kent Johnson and Philippe Lapointe scored twice for the Trail Smoke Eaters and goalie Logan Terness stopped 41 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Penticton Vees on Wednesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.
With the victory, the 14-6-2-1 Smoke Eaters snap the Vees’ five-game win streak and move to within two points of the Interior Division leaders, Penticton and Salmon Arm, both at 16-4-1-0.
Lapointe netted what proved to be the game winner 2:49 into the second, finishing a nice passing play with Owen Ozar to give the Smoke Eaters a 2-0 lead.
It was the Smoke Eaters third straight midweek game, the second against Penticton. Trail was looking for their first win against their Interior Division rival after Penticton took the first three matches. The last time the teams met on Oct. 23, it was the Vees who snapped a four game losing streak with a 4-2 victory, putting a stop to the Smoke Eaters 10-game point streak.
Johnson opened the scoring on a first period power play, taking a pass from Tyler Ghirardosi, and wiring a shot past Yaniv Perets for a 1-0 lead at 15:04.
After Trail made it 2-0, the Smoke Eaters pressured the Vees throughout the second period firing 16 shots at Perets, while the Vees responded with 12 on Terness.
Lukas Sillinger cut the lead in half on a deflection 3:06 into the third period as Penticton turned up the intensity in the third.
Terness came up huge time and again, after stopping Liam Malmquist twice on the doorstep, the Trail goalie robbed Jackson Niedermayer with a massive glove save.
The Smoke Eaters made it 3-1, when Johnson walked in from the left circle, made a move around the d-man and fired a low shot by a screened Vees goalie for his second power-play goal.
Lapointe notched his seventh of the season into an empty net with 75 seconds left in regulation for the 4-1 victory.
Terness earned the game’s first star, stopping 41 shots, with Johnson second star and Perets third star after stopping 25 shots from the Smokies.
Trail’s special teams again proved key with Trail going 2-for-6 on the power play and a perfect 5-for-5 on the PK.
The Smokies also took 3-of-4 points from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on the weekend, and are 14-1-1-1 in their last 17 matches.
The Smoke Eaters host the Vernon Vipers in a two-game home set at the Cominco Arena this weekend. The Vipers have also been hot, earning nine out of a possible 12 points halfway through their longest road swing of the season.
Vernon wrapped up a second straight three-games-in-three-days B.C. Hockey League weekend Sunday afternoon with a 3-2 shootout win over the Eagles in Surrey, beat Victoria 5-2 Friday and fell 4-3 in overtime to the Cowichan Valley Capitals in Duncan Saturday to improve to 4-1-1-0 in the first six games of the trip.
The Vipers acquired goalie James Porter from the WHL Kelowna Rockets last week and he will join the Vipers for the two-game series in Trail this weekend.
The 12-7-1-1 Vipers sit in fourth place in the Interior Division just four points back of Trail.
Smokies Notes:Owen Ozar is on an eight-game point streak and was given an honourable mention in the BCHL Player of the Week for his goal and seven points last week. Philippe Lapointe was also given an honourable mention for collecting eight points, that included 4G-4A. Lapointe also has goals in his last four games.
The puck drops on the Trail vs Vernon games at 7 p.m. at the Cominco Arena on Friday and Saturday.