Smokies battle hard in losses

Trail Smoke Eaters battled back but came up short in both games against Coquitlam and Chilliwack this weekend.

Trail Smoke Eaters battled back but came up short in both games against Coquitlam and Chilliwack this weekend.

The Coquitlam Express kept their winning streak going, making it nine in a row with a 5-3 win over the Smokies Friday and the Chilliwack Chiefs made it four straight wins over Trail on Sunday with a 5-2 victory.

Over 1,000 fans attended the Smoke Eaters game Sunday thanks to the mutual efforts of the Smokies, Teck and Trail’s KidSport.

The team offered free admission to all elementary school aged kids, and Teck kicked in over 100 tickets for its employees and inviting Sanctuary to enjoy the press box.

The intermissions saw the Elementary School Challenge unfold where students that participated in a fitness challenge were eligible to enter the mid-period relay race on ice. Similarly, Teck donated Frisbees to KidSport to raise money via a Frisbee toss in the second intermission.

“It’s all part of Teck’s health and wellness campaign and Kid Zone festivities,” said KidSport director Gord Menelaws. “It’s a lot of work but it’s sure worth it for the kids, the team, and everyone really.”

The game itself was entertaining with Trail missing many opportunities due to a combination of good goaltending and bad bounces. In the second period, with the Smokies down 2-0, an obvious goal was disallowed because of a quick whistle from the referee.

But the Smokies fought back in the third, after the Chiefs made it 3-0, the Smokies would score on a two-man advantage when Brent Baltus took a pass from Luke Bertolucci and slid it by Chiefs’ goalie Mitch Gillam.

Tanner Clarkson added another power-play marker when he made a strong move to the net and backhanded it under the arm of Gwillam to put Trail within one, 3-2, at 8:55 of the third period.

However, less than two minutes later the Chiefs scored on a 2 on 1 and repeated the play 30 seconds later to go up 5-2.

Mathieu Tibbet scored two goals and added an assist for the Chiefs while Bertolucci had a two-point night with a pair of helpers.

The Smoke Eaters out shot Chilliwack 35-31. Lyndon Stanwood took the loss in goal for the Smokies.

In Firday’s match, the Smokies came back from a 3-1 deficit but could not finish. Erik Cooper deflected in a Garrett McMullen pass and Tanner Clarkson made a great move around two Express defencemen, before making a cross-ice pass to Marley Keca who fired in the tying goal at 10:36 of the second period.

However, the Express added the winner 2:17 into the third period and iced it with just over three minutes to go in regulation for the 5-3 victory.

The Smoke Eaters next home game goes Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against Salmon Arm.