Smokies score hat trick on road trip

It was the type of hat trick that had the entire Trail Smoke Eaters’ roster smiling.

It was the type of hat trick that had the entire Trail Smoke Eaters’ roster smiling.

The team put together three solid efforts and was rewarded with three straight wins during its final northern road swing of the season.

Trail beat Quesnel twice, 8-2 and 4-0, which sandwiched a 5-1 win over Prince George.

Defensively the team yielded only three goals in three games while offensively the Smokies scored first every game and never relinquished their first-period lead.

Capping it off was the performance of Cullen Bradshaw who was named the first star in all three games. He finished the trip with three goals and nine points in three games.

Although the wins came against the bottom two teams in the Interior Division, the Smokies needed to put together some consistency as it heads into the final 30 days of the regular season.

Following last Thursday’s 8-2 romp over the Quesnel Millionaires, the Smokies kept up the momentum Friday in Prince George.

Typical of the trip, five different scorers stepped up on as Paul Mailey, Beau Blanaru, Jake Baker, Scott Jacklin and Erik Cooper notched goals.

Nic DeSousa, who was acquired from Prince George on Jan. 10, responded with two assists against his former teammates.

Goaltender Kiefer Smiley allowed one goal on 28 shots. However, his backup Matt Larose did him one better on Saturday in Quesnel.

Larose made 35 stops in the rematch with the Millionaires to record his second shutout of the season, both coming against Quesnel.

Meanwhile Dylan Tappe, who returned to action on the trip after missing all of December with illness, notched what became the game winner late in the first period to spot Trail a 1-0 lead. Bradshaw and Ryan Luiten supplied second-period goals and DeSousa potted his first marker as a Smokie in the third.  

Bradshaw’s two-point game moved him into 16th spot in the BCHL scoring and tied him with Sam Mellor for second on the team with 53 points in 47 games.

After feasting on the bottom rung of the Interior Division, the Smokies will face the league and Canada’s top-ranked Junior A team on Wednesday when the Powell River Kings come to Trail.

The northern wins allowed Trail to move into third place in the division one point ahead of Salmon Arm, which visits the Cominco Arena on Saturday.