Victoria Grizzlies claw out OT win over Smoke Eaters

Trail Smoke Eaters drop two weekend games in agonizing fashion

Following a third-period comeback, an ailing Trail Smoke Eaters lost in double overtime, 6-5, to the Victoria Grizzlies on Sunday, closing out a three-game road trip to Vancouver Island with three of a possible six points.

After beating the Cowichan Valley Capitals 3-2 Friday, the Smokies lost in agonizing fashion to the Nanaimo Clippers 2-1 on Saturday, before falling to the Grizzlies in OT Sunday.

“It went pretty well considering,” said Trail coach Nick Deschenes. “By the end of the trip we had four APs in the line up and two injuries during the game so we were really down to three lines and five D.”

Trailing 4-2 heading into the third period, the Smokies tied it on goals from Charlie Zuccarini and AP Wilson Northey. The Grizzlies would pull ahead at 14:52, but Connor Brown-Maloski netted his third goal of the season to even it at 5-5 with 2:42 to play in regulation and send it to overtime.

The teams played a scoreless 4-on-4 OT period, before Zachary Dixon would score for Victoria on an unassisted effort at 1:07 into the 3-on-3 overtime period to give the Grizzlies a measure of revenge for a 10-4 thumping suffered at the hands of the Smokies Nov. 14.

Trail  opened the scoring on AP Jake Fletcher‘s power play goal at 4:50 of the opening period, and went up 2-0 after Dallas Calvin set up Jake Lucchini. But the Grizzlies would storm back making it 2-1 on Brett Gruber’s marker with 91 seconds left in the first period.

The Grizz then erupted for three goals on 20 shots in the second period to go ahead 4-2, until Trail mounted their own third-period comeback.

Adam Todd stopped 30 shots in net for Trail while Michael Stiliadis turned aside 22. Trail went 2-for-4 on the powerplay and the Grizzlies were 1-for-3.

“As the weekend went on our team finally bought in to how we wanted them to play . . . I think there was a lot of lessons learned and as a group we came out of that with a lot of value.”

The Smoke Eaters were without injured players Craig Martin, Robbie Johnson, and Bryan Basilico, in addition to Jeremy Lucchini (illness) and defenceman Viktor Dombrovskiy, who requested a trade early last week.

The Smokies were forced to make emergency call ups, going  with affiliate players Northey, Fletcher, Hunter Atchison, and Matthew Lynes.

“It’s tough to pick up Affiliate players far away from here because they don’t really get any practices and the games are kind of sparse, but they helped us out, and if they want to stay on board there might be more opportunities for them,” said Deschenes. “They definitely didn’t hurt us at all.”

On Saturday, the Nanaimo Clippers’ Brendan Taylor scored a power-play goal with three seconds remaining in regulation time to break a 1-1 tie and win their 17th game of the season.

After a scoreless first period, Jacob Hanlon scored unassisted when his shot trickled over Trail goalie Brett Clark’s shoulder, off the post and into the net to give the Clippers a 1-0 lead. However, Harlan Orr would reply six minutes later on a setup from Max Newton and Scott Davidson.

The game looked destined for extra time but with 19 seconds remaining in regulation Orr was penalized for hooking. After a face off, the Smokies would ice it, but with time ticking down, Taylor made a dashing end-to-end rush and beat Clark in the final seconds to end it.

“The ref called a very questionable penalty . . . and we had an opportunity to shut them down for 19 seconds, but had four consecutive breakdowns that allowed them to come to our net and score.”

Trail also had a tough time generating scoring chances in the third and managed just four shots on goal, but Clark was huge in net for the Smoke Eaters stopping 31 shots on the night and was named the game’s third star.

Incredibly, Clark, at 2-6 this season, has a 2.50 goals against average in his six losses, but his team has mustered just six goals in those six games, while tallying 17 in his two wins.

In Friday’s victory over Cowichan Valley, Zuccharini scored a short-handed goal at 15:54 of the second period to break a 2-2 tie, and Todd took care of the rest stopping 32 shots on the night including 16 in the middle frame for his eighth win.

Ryan Swanson and Scott Davidson also scored for the Smoke Eaters, while Jake Lucchini was named the game’s second star with two assists on the night.

Trail will look to replace Dombrovskiy who led all defenceman in scoring with two goals and 15 points in 19 games, and had recently committed to Harvard University.

“He requested a trade, but unfortunately he went about it in an unethical manner, so basically it’s for the best interests of the team right now that he is not a part of it, so we’re just trying to find him a place to play right now,” added Deschenes. “It’s very disappointing.”

Trail’s record improves to 10-11-0-1 for 23 points and a tie for fifth spot in the Interior division with Salmon Arm, however, the Smokies have a game in hand. The Silverbacks lost to Cowichan Valley 7-4 on Sunday.

Trail hosts the West Kelowna Warriors at the Cominco Arena on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Just Posted

Actsafe BC brings expertise, new lighting to Trail theatre

Consultants are all technical directors in Vancouver theatres with years of experience in the field

Hospital improvements good news for entire region, says Trail mayor

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board will review the matter next month

Life insurance can be a business expense

Tax Tips & Pits with Ron Clarke, Trail Times columnist

BC senior curling championship slides into Trail

The Trail Curling Association hosts 16 men’s and women’s teams in the senior provincial championship

Snoopy shows up in snowy Silver City

What You See: If you have a recent photo to share email (large size please) to editor@trailtimes.ca

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Bomb threats, gunfire, kidnapping: Drug war rocks Kamloops

Kamloops RCMP battles a series of violent events

B.C. hotel trashes Channing Tatum in favour of Ryan Reynolds

Tatum’s picture left in recycling bin, replaced with photo of Ryan Reynolds

B.C. firefighters rescue bear cub stuck up a tree

Family Day was eventful for cub, firefighters

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Most Read