Captain Cody Schiavon’s overtime winner lifted the Trail Smoke Eaters to a thrilling 6-5 victory over the Cranbrook Bucks on Saturday at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook.
Schiavon one-timed a centering pass from Connor Michaud 80 seconds into the overtime period to give the Smoke Eaters a 3-2 lead in the Kootenay Cup series with the Bucks.
The win also earned the split in Cranbrook, following the Bucks 4-1 victory in its inaugural BCHL game at Western Financial on Friday.
Trail rallied back from a 3-0 deficit, after the Bucks’ Michael Hagen, Dane Dowiak and Briggs Gammill tallied in the first 5:05 of the middle frame.
Jordan Hendry fired a low shot from the top of the circle to get the Smoke Eaters on the board at 13:32 of the second.
Quinn Disher scored his first as a Smoke Eater on the power play to cut the lead to one, and Jaden Senkoe tied it at three, when he jumped on a rebound and lifted it top shelf on Bucks goalie Nathan Airey.
In the final minute of the period, the Smoke Eaters Ben King fired it over the glove of Airey from a sharp angle, to put Trail up 4-3 and cap off a wild seven-goal middle frame.
Mitchell Prowse, on loan from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, gave Trail a 5-3 lead 4:19 into the third.
However, the Bucks battled back, with Gammill notching his second of the night and fourth of the exhibition season midway through the period, and Carson Kurylo tied it on a nice individual effort with 6:43 remaining.
Yet, Dowiak took an interference penalty 10 seconds into the overtime period, to set up Schiavon’s heroics.
In Friday’s match, Dowiak scored twice including the game winner at 7:17 of the second period to give Cranbrook a 2-0 lead, on the way to a 4-1 victory.
The win proved a satisfying result for the Cranbrook community, who celebrated the return of Junior hockey to Western Financial Place. It was the Bucks first home game in the BCHL after having their initially scheduled game cancelled last week due to maintenance problems with the chiller.
Gammill opened the scoring for the Bucks at 18:10 of the first period.
After Dowiak put the home team up 3-0, the Smokies Drew Elser got Trail on the board early in the third, before Gammill iced it scoring into an empty net with 36 seconds to play.
Trail’s next game goes on Nov. 12 in Merritt at 7 p.m. against the Centennials, before returning home for a match against the Prince George Spruce Kings on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 3 p.m.