By Guy Bertrand, Trail Times
The Trail Smoke Eaters thrilling playoff run was extinguished Friday night in Wenatchee.
The Wenatchee Wild clinched the BCHL’s Interior Divison championship with a 6-1 victory and complete a 4-1 series win.
Wenatchee will face the Prince George Spruce Kings in the Fred Page Cup final.
Meanwhile, after the initial sting wears off, the Smokies can reflect on a solid playoff run that saw them sweep the West Kelowna Warriors and knock off perennial league power Penticton Vees in seven games.
Trail forced a Game 5 with a solid 5-2 win in Game 4 at the Cominco Arena. But on Friday the Wild were determined to clinch on home ice in front of 3,000 fans outshooting Trail 41-21 over 60 minutes.
Smokies goaltender Adam Marcoux was the big reason there was a scoreless first period after Wenatchee outshot Trail 14-3.
The Wild finally broke through two minutes into the middle frame.
Jason Weatherby notched his league-leading 12th playoff goal as the Wild power play cashed in when Trail was caught with too many players on the ice.
The Wild made it 2-0 on Lucas Sower’s goal at 4:27 of the second.
Blane Caton notched his fourth of the playoffs, with assists to Ryan Murphy and Mike Byers, to get Trail on the board a short time later just past the five-minute mark.
The frantic start to the period continued when Cooper Zachary replied to put the home team ahead 3-1 before the 10-minute mark.
Wenatchee padded its lead on Weatherby’s second of the period with less than three minutes on the clock.
Trail’s offence produced more pressure in the period though the Wild outshot the Smokies 13-11.
Wenatchee’s AJ Vanderbeek, notched his third point of the game and give the Wild a 5-1 lead at the 5:41 mark of the third. Weatherby picked up an assist for his third point of the game.
The duo made it respective four-point nights setting up August Von Ungern to end the scoring at 6-1 with 4:26 to play.