The Trail Smoke Eaters earn a season series split with the West Kelowna Warriors after a 5-4 overtime victory Saturday night.
The Smoke Eaters wanted to answer back after suffering an overtime loss to the Warriors Friday night in West Kelowna and they did just that. First with pressure in the Warriors zone forward Max Kryski was able to connect off a great pass from Hayden Rowan to make it 1-0 less than 3 minutes into the game. Then late in the period the Smoke Eaters would connect on the power play. Great puck movement from the star players from the Smoke Eaters leads to former Warrior Chase Stevenson to find an open Owen Ozar who made no mistake to make it 2-0 heading into the dressing room.
The Warriors came out strong to start the period with Mike Hardman turning the puck over in the attacking zone scoring his 39th of the season to cut the lead to one. The Smoke Eaters would answer back on the power play with Kent Johnson utilizing a pretty pass from behind the net to an open Hayden Rowan making it 3-1 for the Smoke Eaters. With less than 5 minutes to go the new look third line went to work with Garrett Worth making his own nifty behind the net pass to Bennett Norlin who made no mistake scoring his 22nd of the year to cut the lead to one once again. The Warriors would then have a couple opportunities to tie it up on the man advantage but goaltender Donovan Buskey stood tall. Seconds after the Smoke Eaters killed the penalty the dynamic duo of Chase Stevenson and Kent Johnson would go back to work finding a wide open Spencer McLean who ripped a shot from the hash marks past Warriors goaltender Brock Baier restoring the two goal lead once again heading into the dressing room.
Down by a pair of goals, the Warriors needed an early goal to make things interesting. By this point in the game the players must of known about the Penticton Vees defeating the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in regulation putting the Warriors in the driver’s seat to get 5th in the BC’s Interior Division and a first round matchup with the Vernon Vipers instead of the defending Fred Page Cup champion Wenatchee Wild. At the ten minute mark of the final frame the Warriors went to work.Lucas Cullen was able to intercept a clearing inside the Smoke Eaters zone and cross ice a picture perfect pass to Chase Dubois who was able to beat Donovan Buskey to get the Warriors within one goal. Anthony Bishop and Chase Dubois with a give and go play allowed Max Bulawka to score his 12th of the season to tie the game with only 1:47 remaining in the third sending the game to overtime. In the extra frame Smoke Eaters defender Trevor Zins was able to rush end to end feeding a wide open Carter Jones who beat Brock Baier to win it for the Smoke Eaters by a score of 5-4. The Smoke Eaters will play the Merritt Centennials in the first round and the Warriors move on to play the Wenatchee Wild in the first round starting Saturday March 2nd.
Shots on goal 43-38 in favor of the Smoke Eaters.
- TRA F Hayden Rowan (1G-1A)
- TRA F Carter Jones (1G)
- WKW F Max Bulawka (1G)