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MARSHALL’S DEBUT LIFTS SMOKE EATERS TO VICTORY OVER DIVISION RIVALS

Smoke Eaters

goalie Tanner Marshall stopped 51 shots, as Trail earned three-of-four points on the weekend with a 4-3 road win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday.

The Smoke Eaters fell to the Wenatchee Wild in a 3-2 double-overtime thriller at home Friday, but remained undefeated on the road with a bounce-back win the next night in Salmon Arm.

Trail forward Andre Ghantous netted the winner with an unassisted power-play goal with 1:21 to play in the second period. The Smokie veteran’s second tally of the season wound up a wild five-goal middle frame to give Trail a 4-3 lead that held up the rest of the way.

Trail defenceman Jeremy Lucchini opened the scoring 5:47 into the opening period on the power play, blasting a pass from Kale Howarth by Silverbacks goalie Bo Didur for a 1-0 lead.

However, Josh Latta evened the score at 14:32 with assists going to Rhett Kingston and Justin Wilson. The ‘Backs fired 25 shots at Marshall in the period, but the Kelowna native was stellar in net in his first start as a Smokie, while Trail managed 12 shots on the Salmon Arm goal.

Trail struck first in the second period, with Howarth finishing a pretty passing play with Levi Glasman and Ross Armour at 16:04, but just over a minute later the Silverbacks Demetri Kambeitz replied to knot it at two. Kingston then gave the Silverbacks their first lead of the game when he beat Marshall on Latta set up 61 seconds later.

But Trail refused to fold and Howarth scored his second of the game with Jake Yuris getting his first assist as a Smokie when he dished to Glasman who fed Howarth to tie the game at three.

The Silverbacks outshot the Smokies 18-9 in the second period and 11-7 in the third for a 54-28 edge in shots on goal, but Marshall proved the difference on the night coming up big time and again.

Trail’s power play went 2-for-6, while Salmon Arm’s was 0-for-5. Marshall earned the game’s first star, with Kingston the second star and Howarth the game’s third star.

On Friday, the Smokies and Wild went toe-to-toe in front of close to 2,000 fans at the Cominco Arena in a thrilling battle that was decided by Wenatchee’s Lucas Sowder 1:34 into the second overtime period.

After another Smokies opportunity was thwarted by Wild goalie Jacob Acton in the 3-on-3 OT , Wenatchee broke out on a 2-on-1 with Sowder carrying the puck over the blue line and wiring a shot high blocker side for the victory.

Trail’s Armour opened the scoring when he directed a cross-crease pass from Glasman into the corner for a 1-0 lead midway through the first. However Wenatchee replied in the second period with goals from Sowder and Chad Sasaki less that two minutes apart for a 2-1 lead.

Armour tied it taking a pass from Ghantous and making a slick move on the goalie 4:43 into the third period.

The team’s traded opportunities, through the remaining of regulation and the first OT period, but both Brandon Wells and Acton came up big to force the final extra frame.

Trail outshot Wenatchee 37-33 with just four minor penalties called in the match, and the teams going 0-for-2 on the power play. Armour was the game’s first star, with Sowder and Sasaki earning the second and third star considerations.

Next weekend the Smoke Eaters travel to Chilliwack for the BCHL Showcase where they’ll face the Powell River Kings in the opening match on Saturday at 10 a.m. and the Surrey Eagles at 4 p.m. on Sunday.