The Trail Smoke Eaters surrendered three power play goals and seven tallies on the night as their three-game home ice winning streak came to an end with a 7-4 loss to the Penticton Vees on Friday night at the Trail Memorial Centre.
The Vees were first to hit the scoresheet and grab a 1-0 lead at the 9:37 mark of the opening period. Jack Lagerstrom made a pair of moves to get away from Smoke Eater defenders in the slot before putting a puck to the front of the goal before Eric Linell knocked the puck down and backhanded a shot past the glove side of Adam Marcoux for a 1-0 lead for the visitors.
Penticton extended their lead to a pair of goals at the 13:39 mark of the 1st period courtesy of a power play goal on a rebound. James Miller had his point shot find its way through traffic with Ryan Sandelin on the doorstep, putting the puck past Marcoux on the glove side from the top of the crease to extend the Penticton lead to a 2-0 advantage.
David Silye extended the Vees advantage to 3-0 early into the 2nd period at the 1:47 mark of the frame. After Trail hemmed the Vees into their own zone to begin the period, Silye came off the bench on a change and gathered the puck in the neutral zone before wiring a shot past the blocker side of Marcoux from the right face-off circle for a three-goal advantage.
The Smoke Eaters started to claw their way back, getting on the scoresheet courtesy of an Owen Ozar marker as he tipped in a Trevor Zins feed from the slot for his 4th goal of the season at the 5:16 mark of the period to cut the deficit to two goals at 3-1.
Mason Snell restored the three-goal lead for the Vees with a power play marker at the 8:22 mark of the frame, slapping a puck from the mid-point that was low to the ice and beat Marcoux on the glove side to push Penticton ahead by a 4-1 score.
The Smoke Eaters responded in the most unusual of ways at the 9:08 mark of the middle stanza. A delayed penalty was being called and Jack LaFontaine rushed his way out of the Vees crease to the bench only to have the penalty be called against Penticton as Trail drove the puck down the ice and Chase Stevenson got the last touch into an empty net and his 12th goal of the season made it a 4-2 game.
The Vees once again had a response to get their three-goal advantage back as former Smoke Eater Andre Ghantous drove down the right wing and cut behind the Trail defence before going from his forehand to his backhand and sliding the puck past the blocker side of Marcoux to give Penticton a 5-2 lead at the 17:16 mark.
The 3rd period started strong for the home side, despite being shorthanded as Mack Byers put his 9th goal of the season past LaFontaine on the glove side after receiving a pass from below the goal line off the stick of Braeden Tuck that cut the Vees lead to 5-3.
On the same Vees man advantage, Cassidy Bowes wrapped a loose puck past the glove side of Marcoux at the 1:48 mark to give Penticton a 6-3 lead before Sandelin tallied his second goal of the night at the 5:05 mark of the final period to increase the visitors advantage to 7-3.
Spencer McLean rounded out the night in scoring as he buried his 2nd goal of the season after working his way out of the right-wing corner and throwing a puck past the blocker side of LaFontaine at the 18:17 mark to make the final 7-4 in favour of the Vees.
Adam Marcoux turned aside 19 of the 26 shots he faced in the game in suffering his 14th defeat of the season before being relieved by 16-year-old Logan Terness, who made 16 saves on 16 shots in his first BCHL appearance. Jack LaFontaine made 24 saves on 28 shots in earning his 14th victory of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 7-4 Vees
SHOTS ON GOAL: 42-28 Vees
SMOKE EATERS PP: 0/4
SMOKE EATERS PK: 2/5
1) Ryan Sandelin (2-1-3)
2) Andre Ghantous (1-1-2)
3) James Miller (0-3-3)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Braeden Tuck (0-2-2)
The Smoke Eaters (11-14-4-2) conclude their weekend home-and-home set against the Penticton Vees (19-8-1-2) on Saturday night from the South Okanagan Events Centre. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM with the pre-game show getting underway at 5:50 PM on mixlr.com/trail-smoke-eaters as well as HockeyTV.com with the Voice of the Smoke Eaters, Trevor Miller.