Trail Commercial Hockey League: All square in TCHL

Third and deciding TCHL playoff games go Thursday.

The semifinal round of the Trail Commercial League playoffs has come down to a one game affair as both series – OK Tire vs Firebird and Re/Max vs Allstar  – are deadlocked at a game apiece.

The top-seeded OK Tire had a relatively easy time of it in their opening game of the best-of-three-series downing Firebird 7-1 Thursday. However, the Bird would not go quietly, as they rallied for a 3-0 victory on Sunday to force the deciding game.

Formidable defenceman Mike Boisvert pitched in offensively, netting the winner for the Firebird with 1:42 remaining in the first period. Eric Hill would add an insurance marker midway through the second to make it 2-0, and Craig Clair rounded out the scoring with 1:39 to play.

Firebird’s Mike Kooznetsoff was stellar between the pipes, earning the shutout and sending the series to the deciding game Thursday night at the Cominco Arena.

In OK Tire’s Game 1 win, Darrin Williams scored twice and added two assists to lead the Tire, while Shaun Venturini had a three-point night with a goal and two assists en route to the 7-1 drubbing.

In the second vs third seed series, Allstar Maintenance thumped Re/Max in their opening match Thursday, 10-3, but the number-two-seed realtors bounced back with a 5-2 victory on Sunday.

Former Smoke Eater goalie turned player, Paul Barclay, would net the winner firing a Gabe Gaudet pass by Tim Wiley to make it 3-2 midway through the second period.

Jason Vecchio opened the scoring for Re/Max on a nice individual effort at 15:18 of the first, but Allstar would tie it at 6:08 when Kelly Sidoni and Mark Hutchinson combined to set up Wayne Salekin to make it 1-1.

Vecchio responded again, this time taking a perfect pass from Danny Rioux and blasting it by Wiley to give Re/Max a 2-1 lead. Allstar responded when Layne Stopanski netted his third goal of the series to even it at two heading into the middle frame, but that’s as close as they would get.

Following Barclay’s winner, Rioux would get a power-play marker to make it 4-2, and Graham Proulx would ice it with an empty netter with eight seconds remaining.

In Allstar’s 10-3 Game 1 win, Jim Maniago went on a scoring spree, netting four goals and an assist, including the game winner, to propel the former Rex Red Army team to victory. The Allstars jumped out to a 5-0 first period lead and kept the pressure on in the second, as Stopanski pitched in with a six-point night on two goals and four assists, while Dan Divito added five helpers for Allstar.

The deciding games go Thursday, when OK Tire and Firebird face off at 7:15 p.m. and Re/Max and Allstar go head-to-head at 8:30 p.m. The TCHL championship game is scheduled for Mar. 14 at 7:15 p.m.

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