A season-high crowd was ready to rock the house at Cominco Arena and they did just that for about the first 25 minutes of playing time.
Mathieu Cobetto-Roy showed some magic with back-to-back first period goals to secure the Smoke Eaters to a 2-1 lead.
After a sick snipe from the right-wing circle on a Trail power play tied the game, the slick centreman swatted a saucer pass from Adam Parsons out of the air and past Nanaimo goalie, Tyler Hodges for his second goal of the period and sixth of the season.
Cobetto-Roy also assisted on Parsons’ goal about four minutes into the second period to give the Smoke Eaters a 3-1 lead in a game they looked to be controlling.
But the Clippers began their comeback just over a minute later and it started with a turnover at the Nanaimo blueline, resulting in a 2-on-1 rush.
Joel Plante converted a cross-crease pass from Connor Hayes and the momentum swung in the visitors’ favour just over six minutes later.
An unsuccessful pinch at the Nanaimo blueline resulted in another odd-man rush, with Luke Buss crashing the crease to score the tying goal.
The goal stood after a brief consultation between referees Grant Tyson and Jim Maniago as the puck crossed the line before Trail goalie Teagan Kendrick was knocked into the net, sending it off its moorings.
The Smokies had outshot Nanaimo 30-16 through two periods but the Clippers seized the momentum in the final frame with a 14-6 edge on the shot clock.
A deflection by Samuel Boisvert at 8:46 stood up as the winning goal with Willyam Gendron sealing the deal into an empty net with 4.3 seconds remaining.
Trail outshot the Clippers 36-30 and both teams were 1-for-2 on the power play.
The Smokies will try to snap a four-game slide Saturday night with the Cowichan Valley Capitals coming to Cominco Arena, who opened their eastern trip with a 3-1 Friday night loss in Cranbrook.
The Smokies have added incentive to snap the streak. The parents of the players have travelled from all over North America to spend the weekend in Trail to watch their boys play in person.
Opening face off is at 7 p.m. Pacific Time and it’s the NextGen Transit Stuff the Bus night, supporting the Salvation Army. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food, monetary donations and/or like-new winter gear for neighbours in need.