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The best remedy for a struggling Trail Smoke Eaters team was a little time away from home.
The Smoke Eaters won a pair of road games on the weekend to lift them into third spot in the BCHL Interior Division. The Smoke Eaters began the road trip by avenging a 5-0 loss to Merritt on Tuesday in Trail, with a 3-2 victory over the Centennials in Merritt on Friday and followed that up with an impressive 4-2 win over Prince George on Saturday.
Adam Todd returned to form on Friday, turning aside 36 of 38 shots, while Castlegar minor hockey product Jesse Knowler netted the winner with just over a minute to go in regulation to break a 2-2 tie and give the
team its second victory of the season. Adam Ulfsax and Braden Lamont assisted on the winning goal.
Former Smoke Eater Wayland Williams scored his first BCHL goal to give Merritt a 1-0 lead on a power play 6:40 into the first period and Daniel Nachbauer put the home team up 2-0 6:14 into the second period. However, less than 30 seconds later the Smokies’ rookie Adam Ulfsax brought the Smoke Eaters to within one, and Bryce Knapp would tie at the 1:31 of the third to set up the comeback.
Ulfsax was named the game’s first star for his goal and assist, while Todd was awarded second star honours and the Cents’ Peyton Schafer third star.
After a long drive to Prince George, the Smokies came out on fire jumping out to a 3-0 lead after two periods on their way to a 4-2 victory.
This time it was Dustin Nikkel’s turn to shine between the pipes, the Smokies rookie netminder stopped 46 of 48 shots for the victory and was named the game’s first star.
Brendan Lamont had a statement game and was named second star, as he was in on each of the first three goals setting up Jake Kaupilla and Curtis Toneff in the first period before netting what proved to be the
winner on a power play at 16:18 of the second.
The Spruce Kings would come back in the third firing 14 shots at Nikkel, finally beating him when Bryant Christian and Jake Lamont scored two minutes apart to cut the lead to 3-2. But after a frenzied eight minutes, Travis Stephens would ice it with an empty netter with three seconds remaining.
Next weekend the Smoke Eaters will host Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday and the Interior-division leading West Kelowna Warriors Saturday at the Cominco Arena, game times 7:30 p.m.