The Smokies had their first shootout of the 2023-24 season and picked up their first shootout win.
Goalie Ryan Parker stopped Matheson Mason in the fourth round of the ultimate tie-breaker and sealed the 4-3 victory in Coquitlam right after Christian Kim snapped a low shot past Express goalie Ethan Simcoe.
The Express goalie kept the game close in the first period when the Smokies peppered him with 14 shots. The only one to beat him was a high backhander, ending a sensational solo effort by Max Potvin with just four seconds left in the opening frame. Potvin, in his first game back after missing 12 games with an upper body injury, stole the puck outside the Coquitlam blueline, split the defense and roofed his shot from close range.
Adam Marshall who returned from a seven game injury absence sniped a shot from the right wing circle, just over a minute into the second period to stake Trail to a 2-0 lead.
The Express comeback started four minutes later as Ben Snyderman’s screen shot from the right wing boards found the far corner.
But the BCHL’s first star for January went to work to restore Trail’s two goals lead moments later.
Mathieu Cobetto-Roy finished a play started by defenseman Patrick Reilly, who jumped on a loose puck in the neutral zone and fed Josh Schenk who hit Cobetto-Roy with a perfect pass and he hit the top corner for his 20th goal of the season. Cobetto-Roy also scored a goal in the shootout.
The Express would reduce Trail’s lead to 3-2 at about the 14-minute mark of the middle frame as Cole Melady deflected in a Michael Rubin shot from the point on a Coquitlam power play.
The home side tied the game early in the third period when Sebastian Bradshaw chipped in a cross-crease pass on a 2-on-1 break, moments after Parker made a super save on a similar opportunity. He would do it again in overtime, robbing BCHL rookie points leader, Jake Manfre.
Parker made 35 saves through regulation and overtime, with another three stops in the four-round shootout.
The Smokies fired 33 at Simcoe.
Trail went 0-for-4 on the power play and killed 4-of-5 Express advantages, including one late in overtime.
The Smokies are 7-2 since Christmas and one point back of fourth place Vernon in the Interior Conference standings.
Trail treks to Merritt for a Saturday night showdown with the Centennials.
The Smokies won the season series opener 4-2 in Trail on October 13 and battled back from a 4-1 deficit on November 25 in Merritt before bowing 5-4 in overtime.
Puck drop from the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena is set for 7:05. The game will be broadcast on Mixlr and FloHockey.