The Trail Smoke Eaters closed out January on a positive note after taking three of four points from a weekend set in Salmon Arm.
After dropping a tough 3-2 overtime loss to the Silverbacks on Friday night, Trail rebounded with a one-goal victory of their own, 5-4, on Saturday.
The victory allowed Trail to wrap up January’s portion of the schedule with four wins and two overtime losses in eight games.
Saturday, a three-point contribution from defenceman Trevor Zins and 28-save effort by goaltender Donovan Buskey were key factors in the victory.
However, the game turned in the third period when power play goals by Tyler Ghirardosi, near the eight-minute mark, and Owen Ozar, three minutes later, pushed the Smokies into a 5-3 lead with nine minutes to play.
Salmon Arm got one back on a power play of their own when Trevor Adams scored at the 13:53 mark but Buskey closed the door the rest of the way as the Silverbacks outshot Trail 14-7 in the final 20 minutes.
Paul Leroux notched his first goal as a Trail Smoke Eater to open the scoring six minutes into the game. Zins followed with his 11th of the season to spot Trail a 2-0 lead.
Mack Byers made it 3-0 Trail just 11 seconds into the middle frame before Salmon Arm began its comeback.
Three unanswered goals, two in the second period and Nick Unruh’s tally at 3:35 of the third pulled Salmon Arm back on even ground at 3-3.
That’s when Trail’s power play stepped up and capitalized on back-to-back penalties to Salmon Arm. Ghirardosi’s goal, with assist to Zins, came just 21 seconds after John Little was sent off for holding. Ozar’s 10th of the season came 28 seconds after Olson Werenka was sent off for interference.
The victory took the sting away from Friday’s loss which saw Trail lose a 2-1 lead in the third period as Unruh notched the game-tying goal with 53 seconds in regulation time.
Hayden Rowan and Chase Stevenson gave Trail a 2-1 lead with their third-period goals.
The extra frame was short-lived, lasting just over a minute, and both teams had good chances during the fast-paced OT play.
Ethan Langenegger made a great save to rob the point from Trail, and Justin Wilson grabbed the loose puck after the save. Wilson and Silverbacks’ defenceman Akito Hirose made a two-on-one play together against the Trail net, with Wilson making a well-timed shot to beat Trail goalie Adam Marcoux and end the game.
After four consecutive road games, the Smokies return to the confines of the Cominco Arena this weekend with games on Friday, against Vernon, and Saturday, against Merritt.
That starts a string of six straight home games as the Smokies look to carry January’s momentum into February.
With files from Salmon Arm Observer