The Trail Smoke Eaters split a pair of weekend road games, beating the Wenatchee Wild 4-2 on Friday before falling to the Penticton Vees on Saturday.
The Smokies jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from Connor Brown-Maloski, Ryan Swanson and Kale Howarth on the way to knocking off the second place Mainland division team.
Kienan Scott added his fifth goal in the past four games on a setup from Max Newton at 11:46 of the second period to make 4-0 heading to the third. Trail’s defence bent in the third but did not break as the Wild’s Dakota Raabe and Logan Milliken beat Bailey MacBurnie to cut the lead in half but the Smokies would hold on for the win.
Brown-Maloski was named the game’s first star, MacBurnie received second star honours for his 30 saves, and Raabe the third star for the Wild.
The win brought the Smokies within six points of the Vernon Vipers for the final playoff spot in the Interior division standings. The Smokies have three games in hand on the Vipes, which lost both ends of a home-and-home to Salmon Arm.
On Saturday, the Vees came out flying as they scored in the first 64 seconds of play on their way to an 8-1 thumping of the Smokies. Scott Conway had a four-point night and Demico Hanoun scored twice including the winner at 5:38 of the first period to lead Penticton to its 26th win of the season.
Conway tallied two goals, and Nick Jones, Taylor Ward, Mitchell Brooks, and Desi Burgart picked up the other Penticton goals, while Evan MacEachern scored on a power play to net the only Smokies’ marker.
Trail’s next game goes in West Kelowna on Tuesday, before returning to the Cominco Arena for a Friday game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs Friday, and the Wild on Saturday.