The Trail Smoke Eaters needed a shootout to pull off a 2-1 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings on a Sunday afternoon tilt at the Trail Memorial Centre.
Tied 1-1 through 6o minutes of regulation and a five-minute 3-on-3 overtime period, Smoke Eaters forward Zack Feaver snapped a shot over the glove of Spruce Kings goalie Aaron Trotter to give Trail a 2-1 advantage in the shootout. Logan Terness stopped two of the three PG shooters to secure the victory.
The win is the second for Trail this week, after shutting out the Merritt Centennials on Thursday, 5-0. Prince George was playing its third match in as many days, following back-to-back games in Cranbrook Friday and Saturday.
The Spruce Kings earned a split, losing the first match 6-2 before skating to a 2-1 victory in Game 2, thanks to a 39 save performance from Trotter.
Smoke Eaters coach Tim Fragle wasn’t concerned about the fatigue factor for the Spruce Kings knowing they’d be ready to play.
“You can’t look into that,” he said in a pre-game interview with Smoke Eaters announcer Ben Phillips. “Sometimes when you’re in that spot you just go and play, when you don’t over-think it that’s when you have your best results. So for us it’s about playing good at home, it doesn’t matter if somebody comes in on back-to-backs, we just want to be a strong team at home.”
In Sunday’ match, the Smoke Eaters opened the scoring 25 seconds into the opening frame on Feaver’s fourth goal of the exhibition season. Feaver took a pass from Jackson Krill in front and outwaited Trotter before going high blocker for a 1-0 lead.
P.G. tied it when Rowan Miller slipped a rebound through the legs of Terness at 16:30 of the second period.
Neither team could find the game winner in overtime, as both goalies stopped a breakaway to keep it deadlocked at one.
Assistant captain Chase Dafoe led off the shootout by firing a shot blocker side for a 1-0 lead. The Kings Christian Buono snapped a shot high glove on Terness, but Feaver’s goal as Trail’s second shooter stood up as the game winner.
The teams each had 21 shots on net, while Trail was 0-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
In the Smoke Eaters 5-0 shutout win over the Merritt Centennials on Thursday night in Merritt, Trail forward Noah Wakeford scored the game winner and Smoke Eaters goalie Cayden Hamming earned the shut out, stopping 22 shots.
The game remained scoreless after the first period, despite Trail outshooting Merrit 17-6.
Wakeford netted the game winner when he intercepted a pass in front of the Merritt net and fired it over the glove of goalie Josh Dias for a 1-0 lead at 9:45 of the second period.
Trail followed that up with goals from Quinn Disher and Cody Schiavon to take a 3-0 lead and rookies Zack Feaver and Zach Park finished the scoring 34 seconds apart in the final two minutes.
Smokies NCAA notes: Former Smoke Eaters assistant captain Kent Johnson made a huge impression in his first game with the University of Michigan Wolverines on Saturday. The Port Moody native had four assists in his first game in Div. 1 hockey, an 8-1 victory over Arizona State. He also scored his first NCAA goal in the second game, a 3-0 shut out of the Sun Devils.
Trade:The Smoke Eaters also acquired North Vancouver native Garrett Valk from the Chilliwack Chiefs last week for future considerations.
Valk, an 18-year-old product played 40 games for the Chiefs last year as a 17-year-old. The year prior, Valk was a member of the Vancouver North West Hawks of the BC U18 league where he played top minutes, scoring six goals and adding 13 assists through 47 games.
The six-foot-three, 210 pound defenceman is the son of former NHLer Garry Valk, who played over 800 NHL games.
“Garrett brings experience from playing in Chilliwack last year,” head coach and GM Tim Fragle said in a release. “He is a young 2002 defenceman with size and competes very hard. We like his potential as he skates well and is a hard nose defender.”
The Smoke Eaters are next in action at home on Wednesday night when they host the Merritt Centennials at 7 p.m.