The Trail Smoke Eaters dropped a pair of games to the West Kelowna Warriors and Chilliwack Chiefs on the weekend, falling further out of the fourth and final playoff spot in the Interior division.
After losing 4-3 in overtime to the Warriors, the Smoke Eaters squandered a 3-2 lead giving up three goals in the final period to Chilliwack on their way to their sixth loss in a row. The Smoke Eaters now trail Merritt Centennials by 10 points in division standings in the race for the final playoff spot.
Twelve seconds into the third period, the Chiefs’ Jake Larson took a Brandon Potomak pass and ripped it off the post to give Chilliwack a 5-3 lead. The goal proved to be the winning marker after Jake Hand tied it on a power play tipping in a point shot from Craig Puffer to break a 3-3 tie at 13:17 of the second period.
The Smoke Eaters got on the board first when Conner Browne-Maloski redirected a Dexter McLeod slap shot between the legs of the Chiefs netminder David Poirier to put Trail up 1-0. However, the Chiefs would get it back when Ryan Bowen backhanded a Puffer pass top shelf at 8:17. But the Smokies would go up 2-1 on a perfect pass from Dallas Calvin to Charlie Zuccarini at the edge of the circle, who one-timed it into the open side.
The Chiefs Mason Boh would tie it just 13 seconds later to send it into the middle frame tied up, as the Smokies outshot Chilliwack 12-11 in the period.
Trail would take the lead for the third time in the game at 4:29 when Calvin set up Jake Lucchini at the side of the net before Chilliwack mounted the comeback. Three straight third-period goals by Larson, Potomak, and Luke McColgan would put the game out of reach before Trail’s Cooper Leitch rounded out the scoring for Trail. The Smokies outshot the Chiefs 33-27 and were 1-for-5 on the power play while Chiliwack went 2-for-3 with the man advantage.
In Friday’s match up against Interior division rivals West Kelowna, the Smoke Eaters came back from a 3-1 third-period deficit to tie it and gain a point before falling in double overtime. Browne-Maloski tied it at 3-3 at 8:07 of the final frame on a good individual effort, but couldn’t beat Warrior goalie Andy Desautels in the final minutes or the OT period.
Jake Lucchini scored a short-handed goal, and Zuccarini would bring the Smokies within one before CBM tied it to force overtime.
Brett Clark had a good game in goal for the Smoke Eaters stopping 30 shots including back-to-back breakaways in the first overtime frame to keep it tied until Kristian Blumenschein blasted a shot past Clark 16 seconds into the second overtime period to give the Warriors their 17th win of the season.
Trail fired 31 shots at the West Kelowna net, as Blumenschein was named the game’s first star, Browne-Maloski the game’s second star, while Clark was awarded third star honours.
See more on the Smoke Eaters in Tuesday’s Trail Times.