It was a successful return to Quesnel for former Millionaire Kiefer Smiley. The Smokies goaltender stopped 35 of 37 shots he faced. Goaltending was perhaps the key difference in the game as Quesnel's Taylor Pears and Luke Siemens allowed 8 goals on only 2 more shots against.
For the second consecutive time Smokies forward Nick Sandor opened the scoring in the first minute of the game. After Quesnel responded with an Eliot Raibl power play goal, Smiley shut the door for the rest of the first period. Late in the frame Darnell Dyck directed in a St. Denis pass off his skate to give Trail a 2-1 lead.
16 year old Quesnel forward Spencer Graboski tied the game in the second, but it only took 36 seconds for Trail's only 16 year old to respond. Castlegar native Eric Walker wired a slap shot by Siemens for his first career BCHL goal. It gave the Smoke Eaters a 3-2 lead and held up as the game winner.
Tye Lewis, Marc-Antoine Chaput and Darnell Dyck also had 3 point games for the Smokies. Dyck was named a star for the second straight game and appears to have arrived as a major contributor in the BCHL. Chaput followed Wade Bennett's footsteps as a Trail defenceman who has found offensive success playing as a forward. Bennett missed Sunday's game with the flu.
Affiliate player Jesse Niemi continued his successful road trip with the Smokies as he had 1 official assist but will likely also be credited with 2 others upon further review. That would leave the 20 year old forward with 5 points over his first 3 BCHL games. Niemi will now return to the KIJHL's Fernie Ghostriders bolstered by the knowledge that he can perform at the next level.
The win was a good way for the Smoke Eaters to start November. A new month also marks a far more even schedule. After playing 15 of their first 22 games on the road, Trail will have 5 home games to 6 road game this month. Their next action is at the Cominco Arena on Friday and Saturday night against Salmon Arm.
ON THE TRAIL: Ben Matthews returned to the line-up after battling the flu all weekend. A very sick Wade Bennett missed his second straight game while several other players gutted it out at less than 100%. Trail could have injured Smokies Justin Brown and Graeme Strukoff back as soon as this weekend. Matt Wilkins is still a couple of weeks away ... After only a single point in September, Darnell Dyck scored 11 in October. That was good enough for 5th on the team behind Nick Sandor (15), Scott Jacklin (13), Tye Lewis (12) and Sam Mellor (12) ... The win evens the season series after Quesnel beat Trail 5-1 at the Cominco Arena in September ... The Smokies will be back up north soon as they make another trip to Williams Lake, Prince George and Quesnel in 3 weeks. They'll then host Quesnel and Prince George the week after that.