It was a unique night inside the Trail Memorial Arena as the Smoke Eaters sneak one out 7-6 over the Merritt Centennials on Wednesday night.
The Smoke Eaters got the start they wanted just 2:13 as Coalson Wolford got his first as a Smoke Eater, beating Colton Phillips-Watts on the blocker side.
The Centennials would answer back six minutes later as Talon Zakall scored his first of two in the first period. Zakall was able to out wait a screen and beat Terness to make it 1-1. The Smoke Eaters responded with a goal from Zach Park on a rush against the run of play. Nic Roussel turned the puck over in the neutral zone and broke in 2-on-1 before giving a perfect pass to Park for the go ahead goal. The Cents would respond almost immediately on another Zakall goal to make it 2-2 after 20 minutes of hockey.
In the second the rollercoaster ride began. The Smoke Eaters exploded for four unanswered goals that started with a point shot from Mitch Prowse, beating Phillips-Watts after taking a deflection off a Merritt player. Then less than a minute later, Jaden Senkoe out beat an icing call, forced a turnover for Noah Wakeford to find Chase Dafoe and make it 4-2.
It didn’t stop there as the Smoke Eaters would score twice more in the next five minutes with Schiavon scoring on the powerplay, and Connor Sweeney with a sneaky backhand to force a goaltender change. The change in net however sparked the Centennials comeback as they would score three in the final 4 minutes of the second period. First it was former Smoke Eaters Walker Erickson who beat Terness on a wrap around with 4:28 remaining in the period. Then with 38 seconds left Ben Ward was able to push a loose puck out of the scramble in front of the net and make it 6-4. 17 seconds later Erickson completed the second period shock with his second of the night on a tip from Jake Mclean who found his line mate out front.
In the third it took just five minutes for the Centennials to finish the comeback as Erickson would complete the hattrick off a broken play in the Smoke Eaters zone to make it 6-6. Things then get heated through the rest of the third as the teams looked for a go ahead goal. Just when things looked like they were going to Overtime, Erickson was called for goaltender interference after his partial break resulted in him colliding with Terness, giving the Smoke Eaters a late powerplay.
The Smoke Eaters then held firm in the final minutes to see the game out and take their fourth win in a row.
1st – TRA – Connor Sweeney 2G, 1A (GWG)
2nd – MER – Walker Erickson 3G, 1A
3rd – TRA – Noah Wakeford 3A
Fortis Energy Player of the Game – Nic Roussel
The Smoke Eaters are back in action this Saturday when they take on the Cranbrook Bucks in game 6 of the Kootenay Cup.