The Trail Smoke Eaters split their weekend set of games, with an impressive come-from- behind win over Chilliwack on Friday, but were unable to duplicate the feat against Vernon on Saturday.
The Smokies climbed back from a three-goal, first-period deficit Friday to nip the Chiefs 5-4, but after giving up the same lead to the Vipers Saturday, the Smokies were unable to rally as the snakes paralzyed the home team’s attack en route to a 9-2 victory.
Brett Corkey got the Vipes on the board 16 seconds into the game when he wristed a shot past a screened Lyndon Stanwood. Jedd Soleway and Mitch McAlister scored before the end of the first, but the Vipers were just getting started as they poured in four more to make it 7-0, before the Smokies Mitch Foyle responded by redirecting a Djordje Leposavic pass over a solid Danny Todosychuk with five seconds remaining in the second frame.
Pearce Eviston and Logan Mick rounded out the Vipers scoring in the third while Adam Wheeldon scored the Smokies second goal.
Trail native and former Beaver Valley Nitehawk Craig Martin had a two-point night and scored his first goal against the Smokies, a team he played nine games for last season as an affiliate player.
Adam Tambellini and Brett Corkey both had four-point games for Vernon, with each netting a goal and three assists, while Vernon outshot the Smokies 47-43.
A stifling penalty kill and a late goal by Garrett McMullen, capped off a Smokies rally in Friday’s match against the Chiefs.
McMullen took a quick centring pass from Scotty Davidson and made no mistake as he lifted the puck over Chiefs’ goalie Josh Halpenny for the 5-4 winner.
Chilliwack’s Josh Hansen netted two and Matt Shapski scored his first BCHL goal, as Trail found themselves behind 3-0 with barely 10 minutes gone in the first period.
Cue the comeback.
Jake Lucchini got the rally rolling, when he wristed a quick shot past Halpenny for his third goal of the season with just over two minutes remaining in the first period.
The Smokies came out in the second period energized, and Austin Adduono slipped one by the Chiefs goalie just 26 seconds in, however, Chilliwack’s Shapski struck again when he redirected a point shot past Smokie’s starter Aaron Todd. Brent Baltus got Trail back within one when he deposited Davidson’s rebound off the boards into the back of the net at 13:17 of the second.
With the Chiefs leading 4-3 in the third, Luke Sandler broke in on a two-on-one and using the decoy smartly snapped a low shot past Halpenny to tie it at 5:19 mark, setting the stage for McMullen’s winner just minutes later.
The Smoke Eaters penalty kill was a perfect 3-0 including a crucial kill at the end of the game. After Todd took a penalty for delay of game with just over two-minutes remaining, the defence kept the shots to the perimeter and key blocked shots by McMullen and Davidson helped preserve the victory.
Todd also responded after giving up an early lead, as he picked up his first win as a Smokie in stopping 28 of 32 shots.
Trail hits the road for a game against the Vipers in Vernon on Friday, and on to Merritt for a match against the Centennials Saturday.