Vernon Vipers’ third period eruption smothers Trail Smoke Eaters

Tuesday night’s game between the Smokies and Vipers was a tale of two teams going in opposite directions.

Tuesday night’s game between the Trail Smoke Eaters and Vernon Vipers at Kal Tire Place in Vernon was a tale of two teams going in opposite directions, and, as a result, proved the undoing of Smokie coach Bill Birks.

The Smokies put in a good effort in the first two periods, but a stunning five-goal outburst in the third period, including three in just 88 seconds, sealed the 6-3 win and fourth victory in a row for the Vipers, while the Smokies suffered their fifth loss in as many games.

After Jake Kauppila tied the game at 1-1 on a wrap-around just past the midway mark of the first period, the Smoke Eaters jumped out into a 2-1 lead when Tyson Witala scored with 43 seconds left in the second period off a pass from Travis Stephens.

But as assistant coach Barry Zanier said prior to Tuesday’s game, let-downs for whatever reason have killed the Smoke Eaters this season, and the scenario repeated itself in the third period.

“It’s so important to grab points off teams in our division,” said Zanier. “This year we can’t get a big gap between us and the top four in the playoffs. The boys know that nobody’s going to do it for them. They’ve got to dig down and just come ready to go every shift.”

Trail’s third-period letdown proved monumental as the snakes scored three times and grabbed a 4-2 lead just five minutes and 21 seconds in. The top line of Mason Blacklock, Colton Sparrow, and Demico Hannoun did most of the damage combining for 10 points on the night.

Defenceman Riley Guenther started the comeback when he scored on a wrister from the right point, 2:19 into the third for the 2-2 equalizer. Sparrow, sporting a full cage after losing a tooth and a half on a Joel Webb clearing shot in the mouth late in the first period, made it 3-2 three minutes later on a pretty give-and-go with  Hannoun. Just 20 seconds later, Blacklock scored another highlight reel goal, his first of two on the night, on a feed from Hannoun.

Michael McNicholas made it 5-2 a minute and eight seconds later, and Blacklock finished the scoring on the powerplay on a beautiful bang-bang play with Hannoun and Sparrow at 8:39.

Jake Lucchini netted the third Smokie goal with two seconds remaining on a slap shot from the hash marks.

The 4-9-1-1 Smoke Eaters play the 7-3-0-2 Coquitlam Express on Friday at the Cominco Arena at 7:30 p.m.

Just Posted

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 outside West Kootenay airport

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

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

J. L. Crowe Secondary will host the convocation for 2021 Graduates on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. Photo: Jim Bailey
Convocation goes Saturday with Kootenay Columbia grads in learning groups, no parents

Parents can live-stream the ceremony of their 2021 graduates online

Clarice Tuai, seen in front of the ‘50 Objects for 50 Years’ exhibit, is a summer student for the Trail museum/visitors centre. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Trail museum invites everyone to visit new Doukhobor exhibit

‘50 Objects for 50 Years’ runs until October 1

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

Himalayan Life helped finance the construction of Nepal’s Yangri Academic Centre and dormitories after a 2015 earthquake devastated the valley, killing more than 9,000 people. (Screen grab/Peter Schaeublin)
B.C. charity founder pledges to rebuild Nepalese school swept away by flash floods

Six years after an earthquake killed more than 9,000 people, Nepal faces another catastrophy

Most Read