After a heart breaking loss to the Merritt Centennials on Tuesday night the Smoke Eaters rebounded with two wins over the weekend, defeating the Victoria Grizzlies on Friday evening, 10-4, and the Coquitlam Express on Saturday night with a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory.
On Friday night in the Cominco Arena the Smoke Eaters outshot Victoria 41-31 including a 23-13 margin in the second period when they scored 8 goals. The Smokies went 4 for 5 on the power play with Harlan Orr scoring two of those goals while adding an even strength goal for the hat-trick. Other scorers for the Smokies on the night were Kienan Scott, Hunter Atchison, Bryan Basilico, Charlie Zuccarini, Jeremy Lucchini, Craig Martin and Max Newton, a newly signed player for the Smoke Eaters.
Harlan Orr with the hat-trick was named first star of the game, Charlie Zuccarini, with one goal and two assists, was named second star and Paulsen Lautard, another newly signed player for Trail was named third star. Brett Clark, in net for Trail, faced 31 shots making 27 saves on the night. Clark has filled in admirally for the injured Adam Todd.
Max Newton and Paulsen Lautard were signed prior to the Friday game against Victoria and both played prominent rolls in the 10-4 victory. The two players filled the two holes left in the lineup when Stephen Ryan and Brandon Volpe were released earlier in the week.
Max Newton played in Grand Forks and was initially recruited by Trail's Coach/GM, Nick Deschenes, when he coached in Grand Forks. Max is a 5' 10" 180 lb. skilled centerman. He is 17 years old and one of the top scorers in the KIJHL. Deschenes feels he is ready to make the jump to Junir A bringing with him great puck skills and a grittiness to his game.
Paulsen Lautard is a 6' 1" 210 lb. power forward and top scorer in the KIJHL. Paulsen played with currrent Smoke Eater, Kienan Scott in Summerland last season. Over three years Paulsen's point total has doubled each year. He brings a physical presence to the Smoke Eaters while being capable of contributing offensively.
On Saturday evening the Smoke Eaters won a thrilling 4-3 overtime decision against the Coquitlam Express. Over the night the Smokies outshot the Express 50-33. The Smoke Eaters built up a 3-1 lead but the Express fought back to tie the game at 15:55 of the third period to force overtime.
The Smokies led 2-1 after one period on goals by Ryan Swanson and Lincoln Lane, an AP player, for the Smoke Eaters. Jackson Cressey scored the Express goal.
Trail made it 3-1 at the five minute mark of the second period on a goal by Charlie Zuccarini with the assist going to Kienan Scott. At 16:56 Joey Santucci scored for the Express to narrow Trail's lead to 3-2. The Express tied the game at 15:55 of the third on Jackson Cressey's seconded goal of the game.
The first five minute overtime period ended in a 3-3 tie when the teams played 4 on 4. This set the stage for the heroics of Charlie Zuccarini in the second overtime period while the teams were playing 3 on 3. At 3:11 of the 2nd OT the speed of Zuccarini enabled him to break around an Express defenceman and score a beautiful goal to end the game. It was Zuccarinin's second goal and along with one assist earned him first star honors. Ryan Swanson was named second star, with 1 goal and 1 assist. Jackson Cressey with two goals for the Express was named third star. Brock Lefebvre, an AP player for Trail made 30 saves on the night in the Trail net.
The two wins on the weekend helped Trail keep pace in the fight for a playoff spot in the Interior Division. Trail remains in last place after the weekend with 20 points but are only 6 points out of the fourth and last playoff spot.
Trail will travel to Vancouver Island this weekend for games against Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo and Victoria.