The Trail Smoke Eaters were less than a minute away from ending a 12 game losing streak, but the West Kelowna Warriors nipped any celebration in the bud by tying the game with 57 seconds remaining then winning it 4-3 in overtime.
The Warriors Liam Blackburn netted the winning goal at 4:07 of the 4-on-4 overtime period. After Jason Cotton walked in and rang a shot off the post, Blackburn swatted the bouncing puck towards the goal, and it trickled through the legs of Trail goaltender Adam Todd to complete the comeback.
While the Smokies did pick up its first point since a 3-2 overtime win against Salmon Arm on November 16th, it was a game that seemed all but in the bag with Trail up 3-1 in the final two minutes. However, with 1:23 to play in regulation David Pope would finally solve Smokie goalie Adam Todd by shovelling in a loose puck on a goal mouth scramble, then get the tying goal, his 10th of the season, on an identical play 30 seconds later to force the extra frame.
Todd was nothing short of spectacular stopping 43 shots on the night, particularly through 18 minutes and 37 seconds of the third period in which he stopped 26 shots. His rebound control was impeccable and he stymied Warrior players on numerous occasions including a brilliant glove save off of Pope with five minutes left in regulation, and another post-to-post theft off of Tyson Dallman. After Cotton sent a cross ice pass to the forward alone at the side of the net, Todd sprawled across to make the save and maintain the lead until the final minute.
West Kelowna opened the scoring on a Dallman effort at 9:20 of the first, but Smokie forward Bryan Basilico would tip in a Braden Pears point shot to tie the game on the power play midway through the second.
Basilico kept the momentum going adding another marker, his eighth of the season, less than a minute later as he took a pass from Dylan Bowen and beat Warrior goalie Andy Desautels to give the Smokies a 2-1 lead. AP Braden Fuller in his first game for the Smoke Eaters would put the team up 3-1 converting a nice setup from Jake Kauppila and Brandon Volpe.
The Warriors outshot the Smoke Eaters 47 to 28 on the night, going 0-for-3 on the power play while Trail converted on 1-of-5 PP opportunities.
Trail will look to right the ship on Friday when they host the Vernon Vipers.