The Trail Smoke Eaters found the goaltending they’ve been looking for, unfortunately they misplaced their offence in a trio of road games this past weekend.
Without team leading scorer Clayton Chessa, the Smokies could muster only four goals in three games including dropping an 8-3 decision to Vernon Thursday, a 4-1 loss to Chilliwack Friday and a 3-0 shutout to Merritt on Saturday.
Chessa missed the three games due to an injury reportedly suffered last week in a game against Chilliwack.
After splitting goaltending duties in the loss to Vernon, Smokies goalie James D’Andrea got the start against Chilliwack and returned to form playing well and garnering second-star honours in the 4-1 loss.
The Chiefs outshot the Smokies 42-27, in a game that was tied 1-1 at the start of the third period.
Recent pick up Tanner Clarkson looked good, scoring his first goal as a Smokie against Vernon and added his second, the lone goal, against Chilliwack.
Similarly, Lyndon Stanwood kept the Merritt game within reach limiting the Centennials to two goals on 46 shots before they added an empty netter to make it 3-0.
Merritt scored in the first minute of play and sustained pressure in the Smokies end throughout the game. The Cents made it 2-0 six minutes into the second after Trail was called for a too-many-men violation. Merritt captain Evan Stack deflected a shot from the point past Stanwood who had no chance on the play.
The Centennials sit in second place in the Interior conference 14-points behind Penticton.
The Smokies next home game is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against Nanaimo.
The Beaver Valley Nitehawks continued their winning ways, extending their win streak to 10 games as they skated to a 5-2 win over the Spokane Braves at home on Friday.
Chris Johnson led the way with two goals as Justin Niminiken picked up a pair of assists in the win. The Nitehawks next home game goes Tuesday against Grand Forks at 7 p.m.