However, the Clippers turned it on in the second period with a gutsy effort. Talk about not giving up in the face of impossible odds. You could tell the fans feared the worst early in the third period as Nanaimo cut Trail's 6-1 lead to 6-5.
That's when Trail's energy line of Thomas Abenante, Sean Nugent and Josh McEwan made sure to turn the momentum right around. It was the second time in the game that the hard working trio answered a Nanaimo goal with one of their own. McEwan's goal was his first of the season and all he needed to finish up his first Gordie Howe hat trick.
Darnell Dyck also took a big step to energize the bench when he stood up for teammate Travis St. Denis after a questionable hit from big AP defenceman Kiefer McNaughton. Dyck may not have had the size edge in the fight, but his gutsy effort and the McEwan goal seemed to re-ignite Trail.
The Smokies obviously got too comfortable with their first period lead. Hopefully that is another lesson learned for this young squad. They found a way to bounce back and re-take control of the game with an excellent last 18 minutes. The bottom line is Trail put 9 goals on the board against a tough Nanaimo team and got a much needed victory. They don't have to be perfect as long as you get the two points.
Smokies Forward Thomas Abenante
Click here to download
Smokies Forward Josh "Gordie" McEwan
Click here to download
Here is my game recap from trailsmokeeaters.com:
Trail, BC - Josh McEwan knows how to pick his spots. The Kelowna native scored his first of the season at 1:47 of the third period to halt Nanaimo's come back and lead Trail to a 9-5 win over the Clippers.That was certainly an entertaining night! The game had it all. Hopefully we see a big crowd out for the game against Victoria tomorrow night/tonight. It's the only time the Grizz will be in Trail this season. Hope to see you there.
The goal came only 13 seconds after Nanaimo cut Trail's 6-1 lead to 6-5 on a goal by Cody Bremner. Nanaimo scored twice in the second and twice in 38 seconds early in the third to put a scare into the Smoke Eaters.
Scott Jacklin and Matt Wilkins put the game out of reach. It was the second goal of the game for Wilkins.
Thomas Abenante also scored twice for the Smokies as they opened up a big early lead with 6 first period goals. Eric Walker, Travis St. Denis and Sam Mellor had Trail's other goals. St. Denis, Darnell Dyck and Nick Sandor had 2 assists each.
McEwan added an assist and fought Nanaimo's Nick Bell to complete his first career Gordie Howe hat trick.
The Clippers fired 19 shots on Smoke Eaters goaltender Kiefer Smiley in the second period to claw their way back in the game. Both teams played musical goalies as Nanaimo made three changes in goal while Trail replaced Smiley with Garrett Beckwith early in the third. Beckwith stopped all 8 shots he faced to secure the Trail win.
Trail's next action is Saturday night against Victoria. Nanaimo heads to Vernon.
ON THE TRAIL: Steve Oursov made his return to the Trail line-up on a line with Paul Mailey and Justin Brown. Mike Betz, Wade Bennett and Tom Rizzardo sat out for the Smokies ... The win secures a sweep of the season series for Trail as they beat the Clippers 4-2 on October 16th in Nanaimo ... The world famous Underwear Band made their return to the Cominco Arena for the first time since the fall of 2007 to help Trail break their five game losing skid. There were a staple of the Smoke Eaters' senior hockey glory years ... Smoke Eaters fans also generously donated hundreds of food items to the local Salvation Army.