The playoff race just got tighter in Trail Commercial Hockey League action as OK Tire moved into a tie for third spot, thanks to a big win by Gericks over Arlington on Sunday.
Fifth-place Gericks took advantage of a short-handed Arlington squad scoring four times in the first period on their way to a 10-4 drubbing of the Big A. With the win and with a game in hand, Gericks moves to within six points of Arlington and OK Tire who are tied for third with 21 points. The Tire moved into a tie with Arlington thanks to a forfeit by Re/Max Sunday and a close 5-4 victory over the ‘A’ on Thursday. The top four teams make the playoffs, and with only 11 games remaining in the regular season for Gericks every point becomes crucial.
Gerick’s forward Craig Clair struck for seven points on Sunday, netting the hat trick and adding four assists to lead the team to its sixth victory of the season. Clair and linemate Gord Aiken each netted two in the first perod, while the Big A’s Kris Davis had a four-goal night, replying twice in the first period to send the game to the middle frame with Gericks leading 4-2.
Defenceman Mike Boisvert put the G-Men up 6-2 with a pair of his own markers, before Davis answered with 12 minutes remaining in the second. Curtis Wabelin would net his fifth goal of the season on a pretty pass from Adam McNeil to make it 7-3, and Clair would convert an Al Berglund set up, scoring his 19th goal of the season and 40th point to move into fourth overall in league scoring.
Davis rounded out the scoring for the Arlington and Wabelin would collect a pair of helpers on goals from Mike Turner and Nathan Stanton in the third period for the 10-4 victory.
It was a much closer game for the Arlington on Thursday, but the result was the same as they dropped a 5-4 match to OK Tire. The Big A would take a 4-3 lead into the third period, but Darrin Williams would notch his second of the night and 11th of the season one minute in to tie it at 4-4, and Kelly MacKay netted the winner converting a Darrin Kissock and Troy Palmer passing play for the victory.
Palmer had three assissts for OK Tire in the win while Williams scored twice and added an assist. Pat Iannone tallied the hat trick for Arlington scoring his league-leading 30th goal, while the slight but elusive Matt Proulx picked up three assists in the losing cause.
A goaltenders duel between Re/Max’s Chris McIsaac and All Star netminder Cody Deadmarsh further highlighted the parity in the league as the two top teams battled to a 1-1 draw. A first period goal by Luke Russell stood up until the three-minute mark of the third period when Mark Hutchinson took a Scott Morrison pass and beat goalie McIsaac to tie the game and maintain All Star’s three-point lead.
TCHL action continues tonight at the Cominco Arena when OK Tire faces off against All Star at 7:15 p.m. and Re/Max takes on Gericks at 8:30 p.m. On Sunday, Re/Max plays Arlington at 2:15 p.m. and Gericks faces Allstar at 3:30 p.m.