Ross Armour scored twice including the winner, as the Trail Smoke Eaters skated to a convincing 6-1 win over the Nanaimo Clippers on Friday at the Cominco Arena.
Armour took a slick pass from Bennett Morrison and drove to the net lifting the puck over the glove of Nanaimo goalie Jonathon Reinhart to put the Smokies up 2-0 with 4:30 left in the first period. The goal would hold up as the winner, as the Smokies offence put on an offensive clinic on their way to their seventh win of the season.
The Clippers started their three-game road trip in Trail Friday with an 11-7 record, good for second place in the BCHL’s Island division, but faced a Trail team hungry for a win after dropping two matches against Penticton and Vernon last weekend.
Jake Kauppila started the scoring for the Smokies, tallying his seventh of the season to open the scoring. Kauppila banged in a rebound off a Jeremy Lucchini point shot to put Trail up 1-0 just over six minutes into the first period.
With a 2-0 lead to start the second, Smokies defenceman Nii Noi Tetteh scored his first of the season 2:43 in to make it 3-0, with Sam Swanson assisting and earning his first point as a Smoke Eater affiliate player.
Armour netted his second of the night on a pretty set up from Halloran who maneuvered around the Clips’ defence then found Armour alone in front, who buried a quick wrister past Reinhart.
Halloran then scored one of his own on the power play, taking a pass from Mitch Stapley at the blue line, speeding by the defence and beating Reinhart with a quick move to the backhand to make it 5-0.
Harlan Orr then added insult to injury when his centring pass was courteously deposited in the back of the net by a Clipper defenceman. The Clippers would finally get on the board with a power play goal, when Devin Brosseau roofed a snap shot by goalie Bailey MacBurnie to make it 6-1 with just over six minutes remaining in the middle frame.
The Clippers outshot the Smokies 48-35, but a standout performance by Bailey MacBurnie was the difference. The Connecticut native made several big stops and was named second star, while Armour was awarded first star, and Halloran third star on the evening.
Trail plays the Merritt Centennials in Merritt Saturday with a 7 p.m. start, before returning to the Cominco Arena for a Tuesday tilt against the Penticton Vees.