Trail Commercial Hockey: Firebird rising as season winds down

With just three games remaining in the Trail Commercial Hockey League season, Firebird is getting hot at the right time.

With just three games remaining in the Trail Commercial Hockey League season, Firebird is getting hot at the right time.

After doubling up the Big A 6-3 Thursday, the Firebird kept the ball rolling with a 6-5 victory over Allstar Sunday.

Firebird emerges from the week three points up on the Arlington who also lost 4-2 to Re/Max on Sunday and fall to last place in TCHL standings. The win for Re/Max means it maintains a tenuous two-point lead on OK Tire who also came away with a 6-3 victory over Allstar a week ago.

In a see-saw battle against Allstar, Firebird’s Travis Drake settled a pass from Craig Clair and fired home the winning goal with 3:55 to go in the third, to give the Bird a 6-4 lead.

Firebird’s Eric Hill scored his 13th of the season to open the scoring six minutes into the first frame, with Gord Aiken getting the assist.  But Allstar replied two minutes later when Jim Maniago finished a picture perfect passing play from Dan Devito and Scott Davis.

Allstar would take a 2-1 lead at 15:25 when Wayne Salekin beat Mike Kooznetsoff with a devastating snap shot, but Firebird would tie it on a Clair goal to make it 2-2 heading into the second period.

Hill netted his second of the night on a power play less than two minutes in to give the Firebird the lead, but the action got a little heated when Allstar’s Mark Hutchinson and the Bird’s Albert Benson exchanged pleasantries. But it was Hutchinson who received the worst of it, being sent off and given five-for-fighting while Benson received a roughing penalty.

Firebird would make them pay making it 4-2 with a Dan Lind marker just as the penalty expired. However, Allstar replied at 9:49 as Layne Stopanski punched in a Maniago pass to draw within one.

In a furious third period, former Beaver Valley Nitehawk blueliner Kelly Sidoni blasted a Tim Bouchier pass by Kooznetsoff to tie the game at four, but, like the winning goal, Clair and Lind would set up Drake to make it 5-4 just 19 seconds later.

Drake’s second goal of the night would ice it, but the Allstar’s Stopanski also netted his second of the game on the power play to draw within one with just 24 seconds remaining.

Clair and Drake both had three-point nights for the Firebird, while Maniago finished with a goal and two assists for Allstar.

In Sunday’s other match, the Arlington jumped out to a 2-1 first-period lead on goals from Kris Kent and Mike Makway, but Re/Max replied with three goals in the second en route to a 4-2 victory.

Defenceman Danny Rioux had a big three-point night, counting a goal and two assists for the realtors, while both Dallas Stanton, Luke Russell, and Gabe Gaudet all pitched in with a goal and an assist.

The next TCHL action goes Saturday at 8:15 p.m. when Allstar takes on OK Tire, and Sunday at 2:15 p.m. with Firebird versus the Tire, and Allstar facing Re/Max at 3:30 p.m.

Thursday night’s results were unavailable at press time.



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