Trail Smoke Eater forward Connor Brown-Maloski looks to set up Nick Halloran

Trail Smoke Eater forward Connor Brown-Maloski looks to set up Nick Halloran

Vees, Vipers down Smokies

The Smokies fired 42 shot against the Vipers in Vernon Friday, followed by a 49 shot barrage at the Penticton net on Sunday.

Two losses to the Vernon Vipers and Penticton Vees on the weekend wasn’t due to a lack of effort or shots on net, but the Trail Smoke Eaters couldn’t buy a goal when they needed one as the Smokies  missed out on gaining ground on their Interior division rivals.

The Smokies fired 42 shot against the Vipers in Vernon Friday, followed by a 49 shot barrage at the Penticton net on Sunday at the Cominco Arena, but managed just three goals on 91 shots in the 5-2 and 6-1 losses.

“Vernon was a really big game for us, and could have put us into a really good position here early to kind of climb back into the playoff race,” said Smoke Eater coach and GM Nick Deschenes. “We weren’t quite prepared off the start, and they got some momentum, and it’s the same storyline where 42 shots gets us two goals, and last night 50-plus shots (versus Penticton) gets us one goal. We need scoring, we need players to elevate their game.”

Vees netminder Zachary Driscoll was all but unbeatable in an impressive 48-save performance to backstop the Vees to its 18th straight victory.

“Obviously he has tremendous reflexes, but he doesn’t showcase them because he is always in the right spot,” Vees assistant coach Steve Cawley said after the game. “He battles hard. Can I call it a quiet 48-save performance in terms that nothing looked crazy dramatic, everything just looked really, really solid, and he had a fantastic game.”

Trail was able to shut down the Vees’ big guns, holding BCHL leading scorers Tyson Jost and Scott Conway to a single point each. However,  secondary scoring, including a hat trick from Damico Hannoun and a pair from Owen Sillinger, did the damage on Sunday.

After turning aside nine shots in the first frame, Trail peppered Driscoll with 40 shots in the final two periods, but managed just a single marker by Smoke Eater forward Connor Brown-Maloski.

Vees forward, Hannoun, scored the game-winning goal just over five minutes into the middle frame. Dixon Bowen drove for the net drawing the defence, then sent a blind pass out front to Hannoun who fired it blocker side on Smokie goalie Linden Marshall to give the Vees a 2-0 lead.

The Vees opened the scoring on a Sillinger deflection off a Ryan Morrell shot at 6:32 of the first period.  Hannoun then scored his second of the night to make it 3-0 when he jumped off the bench, intercepted a clearing attempt, then toe-dragged around a defender and wired it top shelf.

Brown-Maloski  got the Smokies within striking distance, scoring his third of the season, when he banged home the rebound off a Nick Halloran drive with 8:30 to play in the second to make it 3-1. Trail had its opportunities in the period as Max Newton rang a shot off the crossbar and Driscoll robbed Kurt Black on a point-blank chance in front, as Trail outshot the Vees 19-10 in the middle stanza.

“There were some times that pucks went through the crease, one inch this way or that way was the difference,” said Deschenes. “We hit two or three posts. We deserve a better fate in what we’re putting out there as far as effort goes.”

The Smoke Eaters kept the pressure on in the third period, firing 21 shots at Driscoll, but the Vees blew the game open in the final three minutes on goals by Easton Brodzinski, Sillinger and Hannoun, who tallied his sixth goal on the season.

“The three last goals of the game shouldn’t have happened,” said Deschenes. “We were trying to claw back. But they’re the best team in the country and we have to manage the puck well, we can’t throw pucks away. I think it’s the frustration coming through, but we let up there to allow them paint a different picture on  the scoreboard to what the game actually was.”

Trail outshot the Vees (49-30) for the second game in a row and deserved a better result against the league’s top team.

“I thought Trail played a heck of a game tonight,” said Cawley. “When they came back and scored that first goal, I thought okay it looks like they’re going to create some momentum here. And they didn’t back down at all . . . I think they are a much better team than what they’re record indicates. And I’m sure in their dressing room they feel cheated, because of Zack Driscoll.”

With the win, the Vees make it their longest winning streak since going on a 42 game unbeaten stretch in 2012.

It was a similar story on Friday night, when the line of Riley Brandt, Colton McCarthy, and Jagger Williamson accounted for 10 points in the 5-2 Vernon victory.

The Vipers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first as Brandt opened the scoring at 13:10 followed by two from McCarthy. After a scoreless second period, Calum Volpe and McCarthy netted power play goals in the early going to make it 5-0, before Halloran notched his seventh of the season on a shorthanded effort, and Black his fifth with less than four minutes remaining. Bailey MacBurnie stopped 37 on the night for the Smokies while Andrew Shortridge blocked 40 for the Viper win.

“The sense of urgency increases as we move forward here, but I think the guys are capable of handling it and we are getting better.”

The Smokies failed to make ground on the Merritt Centennials who are one point ahead in the Interior Division, although Trail has three games in hand. The Smoke Eaters face the Nanaimo Clippers on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cominco Arena, then hit the road Saturday to play the Cents in Merritt.

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