The Trail Smoke Eaters looked like a team on a mission last night as they poured in three goals in the first six minutes of the opening period against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and never looked back.
The Smokies ended a five-game home stand with a .500 record last night by beating the Silverbacks 3-1.
Connor Tiechko started the scoring when he took a pass from Eric Cooper and whipped a quick wrist shot between the pads of Silverback goalie Adam Clark four minutes into the first period.
Barely 90 seconds later and the Smokies on a power play, Brandon Long made a pretty cross-ice pass to Tanner Clarkson who banged it passed Clark for what would be the winning goal.
Sixteen seconds later, after Brendan Kennedy took a tripping penalty for Salmon Arm, Brandon Egli ripped a slapshot past a beleaguered Silverback goalie to make it 3-0 Trail.
Captain Clayton McEwan made an impression last night setting up two goals and laying a crushing open-ice hit on Kennedy that rippled through the stands.
Trail has looked much better in the New Year, playing more inspired hockey, killing penalties efficiently, with an intense forecheck, effective power play and never-let-up work ethic. They outshot opposing team in each of their last five games and deserved a better outcome against Salmon Arm in their last meeting – a 5-4 overtime loss on Jan.4.
Salmon Arm scored their only goal early in the third on a scramble in front of Smokie goalie Lyndon Stanwood. But the 18-year-old made several big saves during the game, stopping 32 shots and earning first-star honours.
The Smoke Eaters next home game goes Feb. 2 when they host Alberni Valley.