Coming close doesn’t count for much, at least not in points, but the Trail Smoke Eaters showed that they can indeed skate with the BCHL’s best on the weekend as they dropped back-to-back one-goal games to the Langley Rivermen Friday, and the Merritt Centennials on Saturday at the Cominco Arena.
The Smoke Eaters took a 3-2 lead into the third period but couldn’t hold it as the Cents scored twice in the final frame for the 4-3 victory Saturday, while on Friday, the Smokies dropped a close 3-2 decision to Langley.
Adam Wheeldon deflected a Jake Lucchini shot to put the Smokies up 3-2 at 13:36 of the second period, but Jeff Wight would snipe a wrist shot off the faceoff to tie it at 5:56 of the third, and former Smoke Eater Shane Poulsen would blast a point show through a screen for the winner on the power play, midway through the third.
The Smoke Eaters tried to find the equalizer but couldn’t beat Adam Kero in the final minutes despite some good pressure. Adam Todd was solid in net for the Smokies stopping 44 shots and earning third star on the night.
On Friday, Langley grabbed a 3-1 lead but Trail’s Brian Basilico would draw the Smokies within one with just over five minutes to play, however, once again the home team was denied the equalizer, as former Smoke Eater Lyndon Stanwood made his debut in net for the Rivermen, stopping 34 of 36 shots for second star honours.
The Smokies next home game goes Tuesday when they host the Salmon Arm SivlerBacks at 7 p.m. at the Cominco Arena.
See Tuesday’s Trail Times for more on the Smoke Eaters.