The Smoke Eaters took an early 3-2 lead after the first period on goals by Travis St. Denis, Darnell Dyck and Nick Sandor.
Trail extended their lead in the second period as Steve Oursov scored his first goal since returning to the Smoke Eaters and Matt Wilkins made it 5-2 on the power play. However, the Silverbacks responded with the hard work of their third and fourth lines. Devin Gannon, Josh Manson and Matt Cassidy scored in the second half of the period to tie the game up.
The Smokies again took the lead twice in the third period. Sean Nugent scored to make it 6-5 and Oursov's second of the game gave Trail a 7-6 lead. Again they wouldn't hold up as goals by Noyes and Travis Statchuk sent the game to overtime.
St. Denis has 3 points for Trail while Oursov, Dyck, Wilkins and Paul Mailey had 2 each.
It was the second consecutive overtime loss for Trail as they've now earned 2 of a possible 6 points since returning from holiday break. The next action for the Smokies is Tuesday night at home against Peneticton. They'll welcome Merritt to the Cominco Arena again on Saturday.
ON THE TRAIL: Thomas Abenante was out of the line-up for Trail and is likely done for the remainder of the season after suffering a serious ankle injury against Merritt. Graeme Strukoff also missed the game with a lower body injury while Mike Betz was scratched ... The Smokies held BCHL points leader Mark Zengerle to a single assist but were burned by Salmon Arm's improving depth. The Silverbacks are starting to get some more production from their third and fourth lines as they make a push to challenge the three Okanagan clubs ahead of them in the Interior ... Garrett Beckwith made 25 saves in a losing cause for Trail. Kurt Williams stopped 32 of 39 Trail shots to get his second win against the Smokies this season ... Trail hadn't given up 8 goals in a game since November 13th in Vernon ... The Smokies now have a win, an overtime loss and a tie in six games against Salmon Arm this season. It's their best showing against any of the Interior's top teams. The two clubs face off again in February.
(I'll have highlights and post-game reaction tomorrow night on Mountain FM's Overtime. I also wanted to quickly congratulate Eric Walker's cousin Luke and Team USA for making the gold medal game at the World Junior Championship. They'll have a very tough time stopping Canada's quest for six straight wins, but it should be a heck of a game on Tuesday. You can watch that one at 4:30pm right before heading to the rink for the Trail game against Penticton.)