The Trail Smoke Eaters lost road games to the top two teams this weekend dropping a 4-2 decision to Penticton Vees on Friday before falling to the West Kelowna Warriors.
In Saturday’s game the West Kelowna grabbed a share of top spot in the Interior division with a 5-2 win over the Smoke Eaters. The win combined with Penticton’s 4-3 loss to the Vernon Vipers give the Warriors and Vees 74 points, however, Penticton has one more win, 36, then the Warriors, that would be the decisive factor in the event of a tie.
David Pope scored twice to pace the Warriors attack, while Carl Hesler, Adam Osczevski and Reid Simmonds also scored for W.K. Former Smoke Eater Braden Pears, playing with a cage to protect a broken nose suffered in a game against Vernon last week, chipped in with a pair of assists.
Hesler netted what proved to be the winner as he beat Nikkel at 3:48 of the second period, to give the Warriors its second win on the weekend.
A pair of first period power play goals by Pope, and another by Trail’s Scotty Davidson kept the score close 2-1 after one, despite the Warriors 21-11 advantage in shots. But three second period goals by WK put the game well out of reach for the Smokies.
Basilico would get the other Trail goal at 14:50 to give Basilico a four-point weekend along with Davidson who also assisted on the marker. Nikkel faced 42 Warrior shots while Andy Desautels blocked 25 for the Warriors.The Smoke Eaters were up 2-0 heading into the final frame, but Penticton would score four unanswered third-period goals to roll to the victory.
Against Penticton on Friday, the Smoke Eaters could not hold a 2-0 third period lead before succumbing to the Vees potent offence.
Davidson netted his 13th goal of the season on the power play taking a pass from Bryan Basilico and ripping it by Hunter Miska at 10:52 of the second. Two minutes later Davidson would set up Jesse Knowler who would put the Smokies up by two.
However goals by Brett Beauvais and Erik Benoit 20 seconds apart would tie it 2-2 at 3:36 of the third. Beauvais would also get the winner after Trail defenceman Nathan Browne was sent off for kneeing, Beauvais would bang in a Benoit pass by Trail starter Dustin Nikkel at 5:14 to make it 3-2. Cody DePourcq netted the insurance marker on another power play midway through the final period.
Nikkel played well on the night stopping 35 shots, including 20 in the final frame, while Miska stopped 25 Trail drives.
Trail has three games remaining on the season, and will host the Vernon Vipers on Wednesday and the Warriors on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cominco Arena.
See Tuesday’s Trail Times for more on the Smoke Eaters.