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Connor Brown Maloski Scores to tie the Game 2-2 Early in the Third Period

With only one win in their last seven outings the Xmas break for the Smokies may be a blessing in disguise.  After a hard fought 3-2 loss to the Vernon Vipers last night at the Cominco Arena they now have 11 days to regroup and return with a winning mindset that served them well in the first three months of the season as they were playing .500 hockey.  When they return the Smokies will have 22 remaining games and 16 of those are divisional contests.  With the loss to the Vipers the Smokies have dropped into fourth place.  They are tied with West Kelowna at 35 points but West Kelowna has 17 wins to Trail’s 16 and also have 2 games in hand.  Merritt and Salmon Arm are hot on the heels of both teams with  33 points.  On their return the Smokies will be playing a home and home against West Kelowna on the 29th in West K. and the 30th in Trail.  It is safe to say that these two games will be crucial start in securing a playoff spot in the Interior Division.

In the Smokie’s last game before the break they dropped a 3-2 decision to Vernon but certainly played will enough to win the game.  In an evenly matched contest special teams played an important role as the Vipers were 1 for 3 on the power play and the Smokies were 0 for 4.  In recent games the Smokies have had trouble getting their power play on track.

In the first period the Vipers got on the board first when Steven Jandrie scored at 17:01 for a 1-0 lead that they took to the dressing room.

The Smokies tied the game at 8:36 of the second period on Kale Howarth’s 21st goal of the season on a feed from Luke Santerno and Troy Ring.  The Vipers capitalized on a Smokie penalty to take a 2-1 lead at 14:54 of the period when Michael Ufberg scored hsi 7th of the year.

In the third period, Connor Brown Maloski potted his 9th goal to tie the game at 2 at 5:39 with Ryan Moon and Mitchell Barker earning assists on the marker.  Just 20 seconds later the Vipers Jesse Lansdell scored the winning goal for Vernon.  Trail pressured the Vipers for the remainder of the game but could not find the back of the net for the game tying goal.  The Smokies outshot the vipers in the third period 16-7.

The Vipers, Michael Ufberg, was named first star of the game, Kale Howarth of the Smokies was named second star and Steven Jandrie of Vernon was named third star.   Fortis Energy Player of the Game was Trail’s Ryan Moon.

Teddy Bear Toss Highlights Game

Trail’s next home game is on Friday, December 30th when they host West Kelowna.  Game time is 7:30 PM at the Cominco Arena.