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RECAP – Bucks complete the comeback handing the Smoke Eaters a fifth straight loss

The Smoke Eaters and Bucks didn’t disappoint on New Years day with a first period full of fireworks, however the Bucks were able to complete the third period comeback and hand the Smoke Eaters a fifth straight loss.

Tim Fragle got the response he demanded in the first period with an early goal just 1:50 into the game. Prior to the goal three of the four lines that had gotten out onto the ice had made an impact and had a chance to open the scoring themselves before Teddy Lagerback took the pass from his captain and beat Evan Gartner with a backhand shot on the short side.

The Bucks would answer though just over a minute later as Hayden Gelbard would redirect a point shot past Evan Fradette leveling the game at one. With this being the fourth straight game between the Smoke Eaters and Bucks, tensions were visible high as this rivalry continues to grow. The battle both on and off the puck were intense throughout not just the remainder of the first but the game in general. The Smoke Eaters would retake the lead in the first period, though only momentarily, as the game boiled over after Charlie Strobel scored on a strong net drive to redirect the pass from Connor Michaud into the Bucks net.

Following the goal the Smoke Eaters were handed a bench misconduct for something said during the celebration, That lead to a disagreement between the officiating crew and Tim Fragle who pleaded his cases, asking for consistency, given the Bucks also had an exchange with the Smoke Eaters bench after their first goal. The disagreement lead the Fragle being ejected from the game and a Bucks still getting the initial powerplay immediately after the Smoke Eaters had taken the lead. Noah Quinn, who has a knack for scoring against the Smoke Eaters as of late would score on the powerplay as he drove to the net from out of the corner, leading to the puck hitting Fradette’s goal stick and deflecting in. Then with still a minute and a half left in the first the Smoke Eaters got a late powerplay of their own and, at the time, got a massive goal from their captain Coalson Wolford to take a 3-2 lead into the second period. This time not a word was said, but Wolrford would give a mean staredown to the Bucks bench, the Kootenay Rivalry was alive and well.

The second period will be looked at as a missed opportunity for the Smoke Eaters. The home side started the second on the powerplay and would also have two more attempts that they would fail to score one. That mixed with multiple scoring opportunities they either missed the net or were steered aside by the Bucks netminder, saw the game go to the third period with the Smoke Eaters still leading 3-2.

In the third the Bucks were able to mount a comeback and beat the Smoke Eaters who lose their first game when leading after two periods. Quinn would tie the game with a shorthanded goal as the Bucks forced a turnover in the Smoke Eaters zone as they tried to break out. Then on the powerplay Johnny Johnson would score the winner just passed the mid way point of the third to give them a 4-3 lead. The smoke Eaters were unable to find the equalizer they needed in the dying minutes as the Bucks would hold on for a franchise best fifth straight win and their fourth against the Smoke Eaters. Trail drops down to 12-12-1 on the season, sitting in 6th place in the interior conference with plenty of hockey still to be played. They’ll get their chance to make amends as early as Wednesday as the Prince George Spruce Kings come to town.