The Trail Smoke Eaters’ Kienan Scott scored in overtime to give the Smokies the 2-1 victory over the Coquitlam Express on Sunday

The Trail Smoke Eaters’ Kienan Scott scored in overtime to give the Smokies the 2-1 victory over the Coquitlam Express on Sunday

Trail Smoke Eaters roll to two straight victories

The Trail Smoke Eaters found their stride on the weekend, treating their hometown fans to a pair of critical victories.

The Trail Smoke Eaters found their stride on the weekend, treating their hometown fans to a pair of critical victories over the Prince George Spruce Kings and Coquitlam Express at the Cominco Arena on Friday and Sunday.

Air Force commit Nick Halloran had a four-point night as the Smokies lit up the Spruce Kings on Friday on their way to a 7-3 victory, while Sunday’s game was a goaltending standoff  that saw Trail emerge with a 2-1 overtime win over the Express of Coquitlam.

Trail forward Kienan Scott netted his fifth goal of the season when he finally beat Coquitlam goalie Lawson Fenton  54 seconds into the 4-on-4 overtime period to lift the Smokies to the 2-1 victory.  The Express netminder had stopped 51 of 52 Smokies shots through three periods, but Scott took a great bank-pass off the boards from Jake Kaupilla and broke in all alone beating Fenton on a sweet move to the net and earning the Smoke Eaters their fouth victory of the season.

“I thought as the game went on we got a little bit away from how we should be playing all the time, but the guys stuck with it, they worked hard through the whole 60 minutes, and we got our two points at the end of the day,” said Smoke Eater head coach and GM Nick Deschenes.

The Smokies grabbed a 1-0 lead when Red Deer native Kale Howarth notched his first goal of the season, taking a perfect cross-ice pass from Ryan Swanson and backhanding it top corner on Fenton with 38 seconds to play in the first period.

Trail dominated the opening frame outshooting Coquitlam 18-8 and continued the pace into the second. Every Smokie line was rolling and pressuring the Express, creating a number of odd-man rushes and excellent scoring opportunities. But Fenton was brilliant, robbing the Trail forwards on every occasion and, with a little help from the cross bar on one blast from the high slot, managed to fend off the relentless Smokie attack in the second.

With time winding down in the middle frame, Coquitlam returned the pressure and were rewarded when Colton Kerfoot fed Jackson Cressey in front and the Coquitlam forward buried it stick side on Macburnie with two minutes remaining to tie it at one, despite being outshot 40-14 through two periods.

“I’ve been part of those games as a player, and its frustrating because you’re outplaying the team but you’re facing a hot goaltender,” said Deschenes. “But give them credit, they had a tough road trip and they definitely gave us a push in the third.”

Indeed, it was a different Express team that steamrolled onto the ice for the third period. This time it was Macburnie’s turn to shine as Coquitlam fired 18 shots at the Smoke Eater goal in the period but could not beat Macburnie who made several clutch saves to keep the score tied at one. With the shots 52-32 after regulation, Scott scored on the Smokies first shot of the OT to give Trail its fourth point of the weekend.

“For him (Macburnie) I think there was 30 shots, and he let one goal in, as much as there should have been a greater margin of victory, Bailey made sure that game never got away from us as well.”

Fenton was named the game’s first star, while Cooper Leitch and Scott garnered second and third star honours.

On Friday, Trail snipers found their range breaking open a 1-1 game in the second period by scoring three times to take a 4-1 lead into the third period.

Prince George opened the scoring but Cooper Sande scored his first of the season 5:13 into the first period to tie it at 1-1 with Halloran and  Spencer McLean assisting.

Halloran made it 2-1 stripping the defenceman of the puck then speeding into the zone and beating Kings goalie Sam Tanguay with a wicked snap shot blocker side with 7:50 to play in the middle frame.

The goal sparked the Smokie offence and 74 seconds later, a trailing Max Newton picked up a Connor Brown-Maloski pass and wired it top corner to give the Smokies a 3-1 lead.

McLean and Halloran worked the puck to Ross Armour behind the net, who faked to the left then slipped around the right post to beat Tanguay short side. Trail outshot the Spruce Kings 8-7 in the period, but P.G. would cut the lead to 4-2 on a goal from Kyle Johnson 3:26 into the final frame. But just 91 seconds later, .John Laurito got it back breaking in on the right side and blasting a shot top corner to make it 5-2.  The Spruce Kings tallied one more seven minutes in but breakaway goals from Cooper Lietch and a shorthanded marker by Halloran would ice it for the Smoke Eaters.

“It was one of those games, I thought as a group we could have played better, but we definitely had some players that really elevated their game and took things over.”

Trail goalie Linden Marshall nailed down his first win in his second start for the Smoke Eaters and was solid all night stopping 24 of 27 shots, while Liam McCloskey came on in relief for Tanguay in the third period and both combined for 20 saves.

The two wins are a huge confidence builder for a Smoke Eater team, which began the turnaround on Wednesday taking a 2-1 lead over the Penticton Vees into the third before falling 5-3.

“Overall it was important for us climb back into that playoff race and get two home wins, and in all honesty that Penticton game was a game we were in until the very end so there’s three good performances here moving forward.”

Trail travels to Vernon on Wednesday for a game against the Vipers, before returning home for tilts against the Langley Rivermen on Friday and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday. The wins put the Smokies at 4-6 just two points behind the fifth place Merritt Centennials and three behind the 5-6-0-1 Vipers in fourth place, but with two games in hand.

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Author John Vaillant joins Lisa Moore and Fred Wah for Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s Alumni Reading on Friday, July 9. All three authors were featured at the inaugural festival in 2012. Photo: Submitted
FESTIVAL TALES: When 2012 meets 2021

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will include authors from the event’s inaugural year

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. The website for a Broadway theatre showing "Springsteen on Broadway" said it would only allow guests "fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine" — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
No Springsteen for you: AstraZeneca not good enough to qualify for Broadway ticket

Victoria area mayor among those unable to attend New York entertainment due to COVID-19 restriction

Most Read