Trail, BC - Keith Hamilton continued his mastery of the Trail Smoke Eaters on Wednesday night. For the second time this month Hamilton made over 40 saves in leading Merritt to a one goal victory at the Cominco Arena. 4 of Hamilton's 7 wins this season have come against the Smokies.
Trail got out to 2-0 and 3-1 leads in the first half of the game, but Hamilton shut the door the rest of the way. His Centennials found a way to score key goals in the final minutes of each period in order to complete the come back.
Silvan Harper scored 2:53 into the first overtime to give Merritt their fifth win over Trail this season and seventh straight win over the Smokies dating back to last season. Derek Hills and Jordan Soquilla each had 3 points on the night for the Centennials.
Sam Mellor and Scott Jacklin each had a goal and an assist for Trail. Darnell Dyck scored the other Trail goal and was robbed by Hamilton in the third period on a great chance to secure the victory for Trail.
The win vaults Merritt into sole possession of 5th place in the Interior Conference while the overtime loss puts Trail into a tie for 7th with Prince George. The Smokies and Spruce Kings now have identical records of 12-24-1-3.
Trail's next action is Sunday afternoon in Salmon Arm. The broadcast will be available locally on Mountain FM.
ON THE TRAIL: Trail played the game in their new third jerseys. They are close to exact replicas of the 1939 World Champion Smoke Eaters jerseys that were recently featured in the Hockey News. The jerseys are being auctioned for the rest of the season and we will set up some kind of online auction shortly ... Graeme Strukoff missed the game with an upper body injury. The All-Star rep for Trail may be in danger of missing that game depending on the severity of the injury ... Thomas Abenante left the game with what appeared to be a serious lower body injury. Abenante had been playing the best hockey of his young BCHL career of late ... Kiefer Smiley made 26 saves on 30 shots in the loss ... Trail finished their 7 game December homestand with 2 wins and 2 overtime losses.
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