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Trail Smoke Eaters come up short in two overtime thrillers

Trail Smoke Eaters earned two points in a pair of 5-4 OT losses to Cranbrook and West Kelowna
Trail Smoke Eaters forward Ethan Mann came close to scoring the game winner on this attempt in the dying seconds of a 5-4 overtime loss to the Cranbrook Bucks at their home opener on Friday at the Trail Memorial Centre. Photo: Jim Bailey

The Trail Smoke Eaters went winless on the weekend, but still managed two points in their opening home games.

The Smoke Eaters lost a pair of overtime games to the Cranbrook Bucks and West Kelowna Warriors on Friday and Saturday by the same 5-4 score.

Callum Hughes scored four minutes into the 10-minute overtime period to complete the comeback for the Warriors at the Trail Memorial Centre.

The win was the second straight for the Warriors after defeating Penticton Vees 5-3 on Friday.

Norwegian product Johannes Lokkeberg opened the scoring with his third goal of the season two minutes into the first period, as West Kelowna carried the play outshooting Trail 10-6 through 20 minutes.

Trail bounced back in the second period with Ridge Dawson netting his first of the campaign with an unassisted effort 44 seconds in to tie it, then set up Max Potvin four minutes later to take a 2-1 lead.

The Warriors tied it with Jack Pridham converting a set up from Landen Hilditch with 5:57 remaining in the second.

The game remained tied until both teams broke out for four goals in a five minutes span. Isaiah Norlin netted a power play goal with 7:08 to play to give the Warriors a 3-2 lead.

Sault Ste. Marie product Adam Barone replied two minutes later to even the score at three on a set up from Chase Stefanek and Potvin. Less than a minute later Owen Drury put the Warriors ahead once again, but with 2:28 left to play the Cranbrook native Lucas Marshall netted his first of the season to tie it at 4-4 and send it to overtime.

In the extra frame, the Warriors dominated the new 10-minute OT, with Hughes scoring four minutes in for the 5-4 victory.

West K outshot Trail 7-0 in the extra frame and 31-22 in the game. The Warriors were 1-for-3 on the power play, while Trail went 0-for-4.

In Friday’s match, another close game saw the Bucks comeback from a 3-1 second period deficit to win 5-4 in OT.

Jarrod Smith wired home the game winner with just three seconds remaining in the overtime period. The loss is the Smoke Eaters eighth straight against the Bucks after going 0-7 versus their Kootenay rival last season.

Gryphon Bucci scored with 7:25 into the first to tie the game at 1-1.

Like Kent Johnson did before him, Christian Kim wowed the crowd with a Michigan goal 3:16 into the second and Stefanek made it 3-1 with 11:55 to play in the middle frame.

Cranbrook stormed back with three goals to take a 4-3 lead before the period was out.

Barone tied it on a screen shot from the point 1:42 into the third to set up the overtime thriller.

Cranbrook outshot Trail 37-36 and went 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Smoke Eaters went 1-for-5.

Bucci was named first star with a goal and an assist, Cranbrook’s Noah Ulness earned second star, and Kim third star with one tally.

Trail is at home again on Friday, and will host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks before travelling to Penticton to faceoff against the Vees on Saturday.

Read: Smoke Eaters select veteran defenceman as captain

Jim Bailey

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