The Trail Smoke Eaters worked overtime on the weekend and it paid off, earning 3-of-4 points on the road against Interior Conference rivals Vernon Vipers and Merritt Centennials.
The Smoke Eaters skated to a 3-2 victory over the Vipers Friday (Nov. 24) night, before falling 5-4 to the Centennials in Merritt Saturday.
Trail forward Adam Parsons scored with 21 seconds left in the 10-minute overtime to lift the Smoke Eaters to a hard-fought win over the Vipers. Parsons jumped on a rebound off a Gryphon Bucci shot and deposited it into the yawning cage for his seventh goal of the season.
The Smokies dominated the Vipers through two periods outshooting them 28-12 , but could not find the back of the net until the third period.
The Vipers took a 1-0 lead off an Isaac Tremblay goal 3:12 into the middle frame. The Smoke Eaters tied it on a goal from Ridge Dawson 2:36 into the third, on a set up from Adam Marshall and Adam Barone.
Smokies forward Jason Stefanek scored on a great individual effort, rushing up the ice and beating Snakes’ goalie Colin Reay with a slick move with 11:07 to play for a 2-1 lead.
Yet, with time winding down and their goalie pulled, Tremblay forced extra time scoring his 12th of the season on a scramble in front of Trail goalie Ryan Parker with 1:36 remaining.
Parker was solid in the Trail net, including a diving save in the overtime that kept the game tied.
Trail outshot Vernon 46-27, and went 0-for-4 on the power play, and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
On Saturday, the Smoke Eaters battled back from a three goal deficit to force overtime before falling 5-4 to the Cents.
Merritt’s Sam Grabner scored 32 seconds into the extra frame for the win, which brings the 9-10-2-1 Cents to within two points of Trail in the Interior standings.
The Centennials jumped out to a 2-1 first period lead on goals from Jaxson Murray and Aidan Lindblad, while Lucas Marshall scored Trail’s lone goal.
The score could have been worse if not for a stop by Parker on a penalty shot awarded to Charles-Thomas Larochelle at 16:47 of the opening period.
Michael Felsing scored on the power play 4:23 into the second and Lindblad notched his second of the game shorthanded to make it 4-1 Merritt four minutes later.
Smokies’ defenceman Barone blasted a Mathieu Cobetto-Roy setup past goalie Karlis Mazsargs on the power play to cut the lead to two at 8:47. Adam Marshall then made it 4-3 with a shorthanded goal with 40 seconds left in the second on another setup from Cobetto-Roy.
Midway through the third, Christian Kim tallied his sixth of the season with the assist to Jason Stefanek to tie the game at four and force the extra frame.
Merritt outshot Trail 36-35 and went 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Smoke Eaters were 1-for-5.
The Smoke Eaters sit in fifth place in the Interior with a 9-8-5-0 record, and trail the West Kelowna Warriors by three points.
Trail is back on the road traveling to Penticton to face the 15-1-2-2 Vees on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m. The Smoke Eaters return home for a Friday, Dec. 1 tilt against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at 7 p.m. at the Trail Memorial Centre.