TRAIL, B.C. – The Trail Smoke Eaters got a 2nd period goal from Mack Byers but could not find enough offense as they fell in a shootout to the Coquitlam Express by a 2-1 score on Friday night at the Trail Memorial Centre.
Mack Byers scored a second period power play goal that tied the game after Joshua Wildauer opened the scoring in the first frame but the two teams collapsed defensively and it was the Express who handed the Smoke Eaters their second loss of the season in a shootout with a 2-1 final on Friday.
The 1st period was a bit of a listless one between the two teams with the scoring chances favouring the visitors but Adam Marcoux standing tall in the Trail goal, including making a big stop on a shorthanded breakaway from Alex DiPaolo, who tried to go to the backhand before being stuffed by the Trail netminder.
Coquitlam did open the scoring later in the period, however, and came courtesy of a power play to get them ahead by a goal. DiPaolo centered the puck from below the goal line to the glove side of Marcoux before Joshua Wildauer beat Marcoux through the legs and helped the Express to a 1-0 lead at the 18:15 mark of the opening frame.
The Smoke Eaters came out with jump in the 2nd period and were able to get the game on even terms with a power play goal of their own. Carter Jones had his point shot popped up in the slot where the puck trickled its way to the front of the net and Mack Byers converged on it, moving to his forehand in tight and beating Express netminder Kolby Matthews on the blocker side for his 6th goal of the season and a 1-1 tie at the 5:59 mark of the frame.
Trail was dealt a bit of a blow later in the frame as Jimmy Darby was sent to the dressing room after receiving a five-minute blow to the head major penalty and game misconduct, which sent the Smoke Eaters to the penalty kill to five minutes. Adam Marcoux and the PK stood tall to keep the game tied heading into the 3rd period. Trail led the game in shots by a 14-12 margin into the game’s final regulation period.
The 3rd period saw nothing in the way of scoring but some chances from each side with the best from Trail being a shot from the slot by Carter Jones late in regulation, beating Kolby Matthews on the glove side but not getting by the post to keep the score even at 1-1 and force the game into overtime.
The extra frame didn’t have any scoring as the game went to a shootout with Chase Danol beating Marcoux with a quick shot on the glove side to give the Express the lead in the skills competition. Owen Ozar and Joshua Wildauer were denied by each of Matthews and Marcoux before Kent Johnson snuck a puck through the five hole to even the shootout.
Hunter Alden deked from his forehand to his backhand and lifted a puck over Marcoux to retake the lead for the Express in the shootout with Smoke Eaters captain Braeden Tuck needing to score to keep the game alive but Matthews denied him with the glove and closed a 2-1 win for the Express.
Adam Marcoux made 22 saves on 23 shots while turning aside one of the three shootout shooters in his 9th loss of the season while Kolby Matthews turned aside 20 of the 21 shots he faced in regulation and made saves on two of the three shooters he faced in the shootout for his 8th win of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 2-1 Express (SO)
SHOTS ON GOAL: 23-21 Express
SMOKE EATERS PP: 1/3
SMOKE EATERS PK: 2/3
1) Mack Byers (1-0-1)
2) Kolby Matthews (20 saves on 21 shots)
3) Hunter Alden (0-0-0)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Adam Marcoux (22 saves on 23 shots)
The Smoke Eaters (8-10-3-2) head out on the road to the South Okanagan for their first match up against the Penticton Vees (12-6-1-2) since their Game #7 victory last season in the Interior Division Semi-Final. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the pre-game show getting underway at 6:50 PM on mixlr.com/trail-smoke-eaters as well as HockeyTV.com with the Voice of the Smoke Eaters, Trevor Miller.