Smokies plagued by injury bug

The Trail Smoke Eaters returned from a road-weary three game haul through Penticton, Merritt and Westside on the weekend.

The Trail Smoke Eaters returned from a road-weary three game haul through Penticton, Merritt and Westside on the weekend.

Hampered again by injuries, a depleted Trail team came close to knocking off the Westside Warriors Saturday.

Erik Cooper tied the game at 4-4 early in the third but the Warriors Dustin Cave would net the winner 13 minutes into the third period to make it 5-4.

The Smokies came back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game on goals by Shane Paulsen and Adam Wheeldon. However, the Warriors would go up before the end of the period when Connor Dempsey converted a feed from Travis Blanleil.

Both Cooper and Paulsen chipped in with three points each,  Cooper being named first star.

Trail also hooked up with the Merritt Centennials Friday and suffered a 7-2 defeat. They fared better against the Penticton Vees on Thursday.

Looking to halt the Vees 34 game winning streak, Trail held the number one rated team in Canada in check for the first two periods, but the Vees broke it open with three third period goals to go on to a 4-2 victory.

Goaltender James D’Andrea put in  a solid effort in the loss, blocking 39 of 43 shots and getting the nod for first star honours.

The Smokies host Merritt on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cominco Arena.