PHOTO: Mike Hockley
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 19th, 2019
TRAIL, B.C. – The Trail Smoke Eaters surrendered three 3rd period goals in a 4-3 loss in Game #3 of their Interior Division Semi Final to the Vernon Vipers on Tuesday night at the Trail Memorial Centre.
The Smoke Eaters started the game with plenty of jump in front of an energetic crowd and got ahead by a 1-0 score courtesy of a power play goal. Kent Johnson got the puck in the left-wing face-off circle and cut to the slot before letting a shot go low on the glove side past Vipers netminder Aidan Porter for his 5th goal of the postseason and a one-goal advantage for the home side.
Vernon was able to come back and get the game evened up at the 11:03 mark of the opening period as Jesse Lansdell tallied his first goal of the series. Jack Judson took a mid-point shot that was stopped by the left pad of Smoke Eaters goaltender Donovan Buskey with the rebound swept in past the blocker by Lansdell at the front of the crease to even the score at 1-1.
The pace in the opening period was a good one as both teams went back-and-forth with chances and Trail able to get a bit more pressure on as the period grew older. The Smoke Eaters threw 13 shots on Porter, who was able to make 12 saves in the period while Buskey turned aside 8 of the 9 shots he saw in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Trail began to apply more pressure in the 2nd period, outshooting Vernon by a 11-5 margin in the middle stanza and took their second lead of the game on another Johnson tally at the 11:59 mark of the period. Johnson found a loose puck in the neutral zone as he worked his way in on the left wing and slid the puck past the glove side of Porter for his second goal of the game and his 6th goal of the postseason to give Trail a 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd period.
Vernon opened the 3rd period with plenty of pressure of their own and tied the game courtesy of a Coleton Bilodeau marker. After Trail was hemmed inside of their own zone as the puck came to Bilodeau in the left face-off circle before he chipped the puck past the glove side of Buskey to tie the game at 2-2 at the 3:03 mark of the final period.
Just 24 seconds later, Vernon took their first lead of the game with Connor Marritt finding the back of the net for the second game in a row. Marritt got a Matt Kowalski pass down the left-wing side and sent a shot from the face-off circle past the blocker side of Buskey to give the Vipers a 3-2 advantage at the 3:33 mark of the frame.
The Smoke Eaters were able to get the game tied up at the 13:51 mark of the 3rd period with Carter Jones scoring in his third straight contest. Jones collected a puck in the left face-off dot and spun a shot to the net that found its way through the blocker side of Porter for his 4th goal of the playoffs and even the game at 3-3.
Jesse Lansdell was named the first star of the game and he showed why late in the game as he scored his second goal of the game to give the Vipers a 4-3 lead in the final moments of the game. Jagger Williamson found daylight behind the Smoke Eaters defence at the blue line as he was denied by the right pad of Buskey with the rebound being potted by Lansdell with 1:12 remaining to give the Vipers a 4-3 edge, the eventual final score.
Aidan Porter turned aside 30 of the 33 shots he faced in the game for his 5th win of the playoffs while Donovan Buskey stopped 26 of the 30 shots thrown his way in his 2nd loss of the postseason.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Vipers
SHOTS ON GOAL: 33-30 Smoke Eaters
SMOKE EATERS PP: 1/3
SMOKE EATERS PK: 2/2
1) Jesse Lansdell (2-1-3)
2) Kent Johnson (2-0-2)
3) Connor Marritt (1-0-1)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Carter Jones (1-1-2)
The Smoke Eaters and Vipers will play in Game #4 of their best-of-seven Interior Division Semi Final at the Trail Memorial Centre with the series in favour of Trail by a 2-1 margin. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with tickets available at the Smoke Eaters Main Office as well as at the door ahead of the opening face-off.