The Smoke Eaters, with as close to healthy as they have had in weeks, pick up a big win on home ice on Friday night against the visiting Coquitlam Express.
The game got off to a good start for the Smoke Eaters who got after the Express quickly and often, as the Smoke Eaters would test Adam Manji in the Coquitlam net 16 times. However against the run of play and after the Express cleared the puck off the goal line, Evan Brown opened the scoring on the night on a 3-on-2 rush against the Smoke Eaters. The Express scoring the nights firsts goal with less than six minutes remaining in the first period. The Smoke Eaters would tie the game thanks to a late first period powerplay goal from Cobetto-Roy, who ripped a shot mid point past Manji to make it 1-1
The Express carried more of the play in the second period and would again take the lead 2-1, this time with a powerplay goal of their own. Mirko Buttazzoni tallied his 19th of the year with his shot from the left circle through a screen and perfectly into the short side top corner past Teagan Kendrick for another Express lead. But again the Smoke Eaters would respond and it was Josh Schenk off the rush, beating Manji glove side to tie the game at 2.
The Express were forced into a goalie change after the second goal as Schenk was tripped up by Luke Vardy who dove across the ice in desperation, but ultimately just took out the feet of Schenk who slid into Manji, who would immediately skate off the ice and down the tunnel never to return. The Express netminder did go to the hospital to get checked out and would rejoin the team later in the night.
The Smoke Eaters then took control in the third period. The Express were forced to play more defensively as they tried to help out AP goalkeeper Emmett Dixon from the PJHL’s Port Moody Panthers (Junior B) who came in admirably and held the game at a tie until the back half of the third when Schenk would add his second of the game, putting in his own rebound on the 2-on-1.
The Smoke Eaters would get their insurance goal a few minutes later as Adam Marshall got back on the score sheet. The rookie forward from Wyzata, Minnesota took the pass in behind the Express defenceman and beat Dixon with a move to the backhand as the Smoke Eaters did well to keep the puck in the Coquitlam zone.
The Smoke Eaters would seal it with a late empty net powerplay goal from Ethan Mann as Cobetto-Roy and Brady Hunter each added their third point of the night as both picked up assists in Mann’s tenth goal of the year
The Smoke Eaters will now close out their regular season home ice schedule with a visit from the Surrey Eagles on Saturday, as the Eagles come to Trail following a 6-0 loss to the Cranbrook Bucks.