But for a span of two minutes and five seconds in the second period, the Trail Smoke Eaters played a closer game than the score indicates against the West Kelowna Warriors, falling 7-3 at Royal LePage Place on Tuesday.
The Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 lead, as Kylar Hope buried one off a bounce off the end wall less than a minute in. Then with 3:33 remaining in the period, Connor Sodergren beat Smokie starter Linden Marshall on a quick shot from the slot as the Warriors outshot the Smoke Eaters 16-8.
But a wild start to the second period blew the game wide open, as the teams combined for five goals in 2:05 of action.
The Warriors scored 31 seconds apart at 4:33 and 5:04 as Liam Blackburn beat Marshall from a sharp angle, before Sodergren tallied his fifth of the season as he muscled one past the Trail goalie to make it 4-0 and chase Marshall from the net.
Trail responded 12 seconds later, as Nick Halloran cut the lead to 4-1, finishing a pretty passing play from Connor Brown-Maloski and Nii Noi Tetteh.
However, West Kelowna extended their lead 44 seconds after the Halloran goal, as Kyle Marino sent a knuckle-puck past Bailey MacBurnie, and 38 seconds after that, it was Hope’s second off a 2-on-1 that put the Warriors ahead 6-1. The collapse belies a more evenly played period of hockey where the Warriors outshot the Smoke Eaters 14-13.
The Smoke Eaters scored twice in the third period on goals from Connor Brown-Maloski and Halloran’s second of the night on a shorthanded effort, before Blackburn’s second goal gave the Warriors the 7-3 win.
The 17-10-0-2 Warriors outshot Trail 13-12 in the third and 43-33 on the night. Trail will return to the Cominco Arena looking for points as they host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Wenatchee on Saturday.