Sunday, December 6, 2009

Post Game: Vernon 3 Trail 2 (OT)

Here is the summary posted on the Smokies official website. It's the recap from the BCHL site updated with some Trail only information. I thought tonight's game was a terrific 60 minute effort from the Smoke Eaters. The shots in the second period don't flatter them, but I felt it was much closer than that total would indicate. Trail was in this one the whole way.

While Beckwith was terrific, it wasn't a one man effort. The whole team gave it their all and limited the quality chances from Vernon. However, the Vipers skill took over in the 4 on 4 overtime. It's still an effort that is way ahead of what Trail has done against the Vipers previously. The games against Penticton and Vernon were both big improvements for the Smoke Eaters. That's something to build on heading into Wednesday's game with Westside.

Trail, BC - The BCHL’s top team, credited with only three losses all season, were almost handed another rare defeat, as the hometown Smoke Eaters gave league-leading Vernon everything they could handle before the Vipers ended the upset bid in overtime and skated away with a 3-2 win in Trail.

Scott Jacklin opened the scoring for the home side on the powerplay late in the first period. It was the second straight game opening goal by Jacklin. Trail held the 1-0 lead into the second frame, but not for long, as the Vipers’ Kevin Kraus tied the game with a goal a minute into the period. But it was at that point that Smoke Eaters’ goaltender Garrett Beckwith stole the show in front of nearly a thousand spectators. The New Jersey native was pelted with 23 shots in the middle frame and only allowed two goals amidst a 21-save period.

Despite letting in a Bryce Kakoske goal, which put Vernon ahead 2-1, Beckwith's team responded to his stellar performance and tied the contest 18 seconds later with Matt Wilkins tipping in a Tom Rizzardo point shot. The goal ultimately sent it to overtime after a scoreless third period with chances at both ends of the ice. Connor Jones spoiled the party with his game winner with 1:24 remaining in the extra frame to push the Vipers’ remarkable record to 29-2-0-1.

They will try to improve on that mark on Tuesday when they host the Merritt Centennials. The Smoke Eaters, who suffered their second overtime defeat, will stay at home and await the Westside Warriors, who come to Trail for a Wednesday night tilt.

Curtis Tonello played his first game at the Cominco Arena in a Smoke Eaters uniform and impressed the crowd with his steady play ... Ben Matthews, Sam Mellor and Rizzardo earned assists in the game for Trail ... Beckwith stopped 39 of 42 shots for Trail. Blake Voth turned aside 23 of 25 Trail shots ... After the teams combined for four power plays in the first period there was only one the rest of the way. Trail held the dangerous Vernon man advantage off the board and on the first two power plays they didn't get a single shot ... Graeme Strukoff was still out with an injury for Trail. It is not known if he'll be ready to return for Wednesday's game against the Westside Warriors. Any child 12 and under will get into that game for free if they're with a parent.

Click here for the game summary

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