The Trail Smoke Eaters suffered what was likely their most devastating loss of the season on Sunday, as they fell to the Powell River Kings 6-4 in their first home game in six matches.
Trail led 4-2 with less than six minutes to play in the game, when the Kings struck for three-goals in less than a minute, then added an empty netter with a second remaining to extend the Smoke Eaters losing streak to six games.
Powell River’s Liam Lawson tipped in a Nick Nonis shot from the top of the circle that beat Bailey MacBurnie low to put the Kings up 5-4 with 4:07 to play in the game, as the win moved Powell River into second place in the Island division.
The late comeback ruined a good effort from Trail that jumped out to a 2-1 lead on a pair of goals from Cooper Leitch in the first period. Kings’ forward Nick Halagian tied it before the period was out as the Kings outshot Trail 14-10 in the period.
But Trail’s Kienan Scott put Trail up with 1:35 left in the middle frame, taking a centering pass from Harlan Orr and wiring a shot glove-side on Wornig to give Trail the 3-2 lead. Trail made it 4-2 on a power play that saw Kale Howarth score on a one-timer from the hash marks after a pretty set up from Max Newton and Scott.
The Kings started the comeback after a penalty to Trail’s Blaine Caton for holding at 6:53. Following a mad scramble in front of the Trail net, Adam Brubacher shovelled in the loose puck to make it 4-3. Less than one minute later Hunter Findlater tied it, jamming the puck by MacBurnie at the side of the net, to set up Lawson’s winner just 35 seconds later.
Trail had their chances to extend its lead in the third but Wornig came up huge on a three-way passing play where he robbed Nolan Redler with a pad save at the side of the net, then Jeremy Lucchini rang a quick snapshot off the cross bar. Trail also scored what looked to be the tying goal with two minutes to play, but the official waved it off after whistling the play dead upon losing sight of the puck.
Powell River outshot Trail 45-32 on the night, with the Kings going 1-for-2 on the power play, and Trail 1-for-3.
The loss comes on the heels of a 9-4 drubbing to West Kelowna Warriors on Friday, and a 2-0 shutout loss to Prince George on Thursday, and leaves the Smokies two points back of Vernon in the fourth and final playoff berth in the Interior division. Trail will look to end its streak when they host the Chilliwack Chiefs on Thursday at the Cominco Arena with the puck drop at 7:30 p.m.