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After an evenly played first period in Trail Friday night and with the Vees taking a 1-0 first period lead to the dressing room, the Smoke Eaters dominated the rest of the way defeating the Penticton Vees 6-3 in a crucial divisional game.  With 6 regulars out of the lineup  and the addition of 4 affiliate players from the Beaver Valley Nitehawks and Creston Valley Thunder Cats the Smokies played one of their best games at home this season.

In a first period that saw both teams trade excellent scoring chances it was Penticton that got on the board first with a goal by Griffin Mendel at the 13:05 mark of the period.  Despite excellent scoring chances the Smokies could not solve Mathew Robson in the Vees net.

In the second, the Vees took a 2-0 lead early in the period on a goal by Taylor Ward.  The Smokies dominated the Vees in the second period out-shooting them 20-9.  In what could be the turning point of the game Blaine Caton scored a highlight reel goal at 18:25 of the period when he fought off a Vees defender and put a high backhand past Robson to make it 2-1.  Spencer McLean and Jeremy Lucchini assisted on the goal.

The Smokies continued to put pressure on the Vees at the start of the third, paying off when Luke Santerno scored his 30th goal of the season on a feed from Kale Howarth, to tie the game at 2.  At 5:11 Penticton took a 3-2 lead on a goal by Nicholas Jones.  Just 40 seconds later Jeremy Lucchini scored his first of the season to tie the game on a power play at 5:51.  Assisting on the goal was Carter Cochrane and Kale Howarth.  From this point on the Smokies never looked back and went on to score three unanswered goals to take the 6-3 victory.  Ryan Moon scored at 16:08 to put Trail up 4-3 attributable to the hard work in the corner by Korbyn Chabot to knock the puck loose form a Vees defender.  It was Moon’s 7th goal of the year.  Josh Lamframboise scored his 22nd goal of the season at 17:47 assisted on by affiliate players, Justen James and Tyler Girardosi.  The Smokies’s Kale Howarth rounded out the scoring for the Smokies with his 27th of the year at 18:54 teaming up with Luke Santerno and Carter Cochrane.  It was Trail’s second power play goal of the game.


Special teams played a crucial part in the game as the Smokies killed off 5 power play chances by the Vees while scoring on two of their chances.

A line comprised of three affiliate players, Tyler Girardosi (Beaver Valley), Bradley Ross (Beaver Valley), and Justen James (Creston Valley) were used in a regular rotation and and carried themselves well throughout the game.   Karsten Jang of the Nitehawks also filled in well on defence for the Smokies.  Ryan Warner, Tyson Slater, Mitchell Stapley, Connor Brown Maloski, Andre Ghantous and Ross Armour, all regulars for the Smokies were out of the lineup.

First star of the game was Blaine Caton of the Smokie’s, second star was the Vee’s Matt Gosiewski and third star was Trail’s netminder, Linden Marshall.   Fortis Energy Player of the Game was the Smokie’s Spencer McLean.


In five game with the Vees this season Trail’s has won three of those and lost two in overtime, with one of those going into double O/T.  Both O/T losses were in Penticton.

Trail’s next home game is on Friday, February 3 against the Coquitlam Express.  Game time is 7:30 PM at the Cominco Arena.  With just five home games left in the season I  would encourage all fans to come out and watch a very hardworking and entertaining Smoke Eater hockey team.