Trail Smoke Eaters get good road start

The Trail Smoke Eaters got off to a good start on its three game road swing through the Lower Mainland on the weekend.

The Trail Smoke Eaters got off to a good start on its three game road swing through the Lower Mainland on the weekend, but sputtered down the stretch.

The Smoke Eaters beat the Surrey Eagles 5-3 on Friday, before falling to the Langley Rivermen 3-2 in overtime on Saturday, and 7-2 to the Coquitlam Express Sunday.

Brian Basilico scored twice including the winning goal against Surrey Friday with assists going to Scott Davidson and Dylan Mascarin.

The Smokies jumped out to a 4-1 lead on goals from Sean Davies, Jake Lucchini,  Mascarin, and Basilico, but tallies from Surrey’s Austin Ferguson and Chase Murphy would cut the lead to one.

However, Basilico would net his 10th of the season to clinch it, when his shot at an empty net was intercepted by a thrown stick, making the goal count due to the infraction.

Against Langley Saturday, the Smokes Dylan Bowen scored with 7:59 in the third period to tie it at 2-2 and send the game to overtime. However, Austin Azurdia would net his second of the night beating Trail netminder Dustin Nikkel at 1:21 of the first overtime to win it.

Trail’s Joel Webb tied the game 1-1 on a power play at 1:35 of the second period but Langley would retake the lead early in the third period on Azurdia’s first goal.

The Rivermen outshot the Smokies 46-19 on the night and while Nikkel was stellar in net for Trail, it was former Smoke Eater Lyndon Stanwood who would register the win.

In a Sunday afternoon tilt against Coquitlam, the Smokies AP Jeremy McNeil scored first but Coquitlam replied with five straight markers as the Express rolled to a 7-2 victory over Trail. McNeil also received third-star honours as the Smokies outshot the Express 35-30 but Express goalie Gordie Defiel stymied Trail snipers all night. The Express are currently one of the hottest teams in the league with its victory over the Smoke Eaters its fourth straight win.

Meanwhile, Langley is tied with Powell River for the league lead with 62 points.  While in the Interior division the Penticton Vees, 60 points, have struggled of late, losing three in a row, and allowing the charging West Kelown Warriors, who have won four straight, to move within four points of the division lead.

Trail’s next home game goes on Friday against Surrey at 7:30 p.m. at the Cominco Arena.