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With the Smokies struggling through a number of injuries to key players they held their own in two close losses to the top teams in the BCHL on the weekend.  The Smokies dropped a 2-1 decision on Friday night in Trail to the Penticton Vees and then a 5-4 decision to the league leading Wenatchee Wild on Sunday afternoon.

Despite being out-shot 42-19 in the game on Sunday afternoon by the Wild, the Smokies kept the game close all the way.  Tied 3-3 after two periods, the orange & black fell just short of tying the game in the late stages of the third period.


Wenatchee opened the scoring at 7:54 of the first on a goal by Jimmy O’Brien.  Trail tied the game for the Smokies at 11:30 when Luke Santerno jumped out of the penalty box and picked up a break away pass firing a high shot past Wild goaltender Devin Cooley.  It was Santerno’s 31st goal of the season assisted on by Troy Ring and Carter Cochrane.  At 13:10 Mithchell Barker put the Smokies up 2-1 with his 11th of the season with assists going to Ryan Moon and Korbyn Chabot.  Dakota Raabe, first star of the game, scored his 20th of the season at 15:07 to tie the game for the Wild.

In the second period Wenatchee’s Brendan Harris scored his 22nd goal of the season to put the Wild up 3-2.  The Smokies answered that marker at 12:27 on a goal by, third star of the game, Ryan Moon with his 10th of the year.  Mitchell Barker assisted on the goal.

At 1:20 of the third, Wenatchee’s, AJ Vanderbeck, scored the only power play goal of the game to take a 4-3 lead.  At 12:31 Brian Williams of the Wild scored his 15th of the year to put Wenatchee up 5-3.  With the Smokies shorthanded, Luke Santerno scored his 32nd goal of the year at 16:20 to pull the Smokies within 1.  Connor Brown Maloski assisted on the goal.  Late in the third with the extra attacker the Smokies narrowly missed tying the game, with just seconds remaining, on a shot off a faceoff in the Wild’s end.

First star of the game was Wenatchee’s, Dakota Raabe, second star of the game was Trail’s Mitchell Barker and third star was Ryan Moon.  All players had a goal and an assist.  Fortis Energy Player of the Game was Trail’s Carter Cochrane.

In the lineup for the Smokies were affiliate players, Karsten Jang and Bradley Ross of the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, Justen James of the Creston Valley Thunder Cats and Brandon Costa of the Castlegar Rebels.

Out with injuries for the Smokies were Kale Howarth, Ross Armour, Mitch Stapley, Tyson Slater and Ryan Murphy.   Josh Laframboise was sitting out a suspension.

The next two weekends will be critical for the Smokies in how they will finish in the standings.  The Smokies have four games left, West Kelowna has 6 games and Merritt has 5 games.  The Smokies are currently in third place with 54 points, West Kelowna has 52 points and Merritt has 50 points.  The Smokies have a home and home against Merritt next weekend and then against Vernon the following weekend. The Smokies will have to be at the top of their as these are the teams that have given them the most trouble this season.

Smokie’s next home game is next Friday against the Merritt Centennials at the Cominco Arena.  Game time is 7:30 pm.