PENTICTON, BC –The Trail Smoke Eaters fashioned together a stunning third period comeback Wednesday night, coming from behind to beat the Penticton Vees 3-2 at the SOEC.
Trail’s win was their first at the SOEC in 13-games, as it marks their first regular season win in Penticton since March 1st, 2013.
Up 2-0 and holding the Smoke Eaters to just six shots through 40-minutes, the Vees looked to be well on their way to their 30th win of the season. However, Trail scored twice in 42-seconds to tie it and then scored the game-winner with just two-minutes left in regulation; the Smokies fired 19-shots on goal in the third period alone.
Ryley Risling and Mitch Meek scored in the first and second period for the Vees, who only surrendered three shots in each of the first two periods. Mat Robson was tagged with the loss, stopping 22 of 25 shots.
Ross Armour scored twice in the third, including the game-winner and Spencer McLean scored the other, as Trail won their second game in a row. Linden Marshall picked up his first win against the Vees, turning aside 24 of 26 shots.
Penticton didn’t do themselves any favors early, as they had to kill-off a four-minute high-sticking penalty, just 90-seconds into the game. The PK didn’t allow a single shot on net during that extended Trail power-play. The Vees had the best chance, short-handed, as newcomer Taylor Sanheim was stopped on a partial breakaway down the right-wing.
Risling finally broke the scoreless deadlock late in the first period when he banked a shot from out of the corner off a defender’s leg in front. Risling fired the puck off Kyle Chernenkoff and in at 15:26 for his second in three games.
The Vees carried a 1-0 lead midway into the second period before Meek put the home team up two. Risling left the puck on the wall for Meek, who walked in from the left-wing and outwaited the goaltender, sliding the puck in on the far-side at 8:17; his second goal of the season and first since October 8th.
The Vees took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission and outshot the Smoke Eaters 21-6 through 40-minutes. But Trail found another gear in the third period to stun the over 26-hundred fans in attendance.
Armour started the rally eight and a half minutes into the frame when he drove the net from the left-wing and forced the puck past Robson on the short-side at 8:24.
On the next shift it was Spencer McLean following the puck to the net and muscling in a rebound from inside the crease at 9:06; Trail erasing a two-goal deficit in a matter of seconds.
Armour played hero late for Trail, after Josh Laframboise’s pass out of the corner found his stick out front, Armour quickly dragged it back on his forehand, before going upstairs at 17:59; his 11th and the game-winner.
Final Score: 3-2 Trail
Shots: 26-25 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 0-1 Trail 0-4
Three Stars: 1) Ross Armour 2) Duncan Campbell 3) Mitch Meek
Vees Notes: Duncan Campbell finished with a pair of assists in the loss. The line of Campbell, Ryley Risling and Taylor Sanheim combined for a goal and five points. Wednesday was the Vees first loss in 20 games when carrying a lead into the third period (19-1-0-0). The Vees record dips to 29-7-0-1 in the loss and their home records now sits at 15-3-0-1.
The Vees are off until Saturday, January 7th, when they host the Vernon Vipers at the SOEC; face-off is 6 pm.