Warriors split weekend series with Smoke Eaters

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PHOTO: Tami Quan Photography

WEST KELOWNA B.C – Willie Reim’s return to the Warriors lineup still wasn’t enough for a series sweep of the Trail Smoke Eaters.

The Trail Smoke Eaters entered Saturday night’s game blood thirsty after a stinger loss in Cominco to the Warriors. Tonight they came in strong and this time they capitalized on the powerplay with several scoring chances beating Connor Hopkins.

The game started fast and furious with scoring each team picking up a pair of goals each. First goal a fanned on shot from Mack Byers that caught Warriors goaltender Connor Hopkins off guard to give the Smoke Eaters a 1-0 lead. Seven minutes later came right back with a pair of goals from Willie Reim and Sam Anderson only 21 seconds apart from each other.

Story of this game has to be the penalty trouble West Kelowna got themselves into. It started with the equalizer goal from Trevor Zins which went right through everyone and past Connor Hopkins to tie the game up going into the 2nd period. THe second period was mainly spend on special teams for both clubs, with the Smoke Eaters capitalizing once again on the powerplay with a goal from Michael Hodge. Hodge, 18, recorded two points Friday night in Trail and didn’t look back Saturday in West Kelowna, finishing with three points on the evening.

With the score 3-2 going into the third, Warriors head coach Geoff Grimwood needed a quick goal early to set the tempo, and a Kyle Chernenkoff penalty for the Smoke Eaters was just what the doctor ordered. Chase Dubois was able to connect with his first of the season to tie the game up at three. Only eight seconds later Kent Johnson stormed the Warriors goal and regained the one goal lead for the Smoke Eaters. At the 16 minute mark the Smoke Eaters added to their lead with yet another powerplay goal courtesy of defenseman Jeremy Smith. The Warriors would try and make it interesting late in the game with a Parm Dhaliwal tally, but it was too late. Hayden Rowan finished off his stellar evening with his second of the season and fourth point of the night, giving the Smoke Eaters that much needed insurance to pick up the win. Things went from bad to worse late when the Warriors had the extra attacker out and a deflection from a point shot hit forward Mike Hardman in the face. The 19 year old receives some stitches but looks like he doesn’t require any dental or orbital work. Hardman’s status for next week is uncertain. The game finished up with a 6-4 victory for the Trail Smoke Eaters splitting the weekend home at home.

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