Powell River, BC - Paul Mailey's goal in the second overtime gave Trail a dramatic 5-4 win over the second ranked team in the Coastal Conference. Mailey's goal came after Kings defenceman Reid Campbell lost his footing and turned the puck over to Trail's Captain. It was the 11th point for Mailey in his last 11 games.
The game was a back and forth affair that was tied after all three periods in regulation. Powell River took the first lead on a power play goal by Matt Garabowsky. The Smokies responded on a power play of their own and Nick Sandor notched his 25th of the season.
Trail then took three separate one goal leads on two goals by Sam Mellor and one by Mike Betz. It was the 5th goal in 3 games for Betz since returning to the line-up. Mellor also added an assist. Sandor was the only other Smoke Eater with a multiple point night as he added an assist to his first period goal.
Each time the Smokies took a lead the Kings came back to tie the game. Powell River's power play delivered 3 goals on 7 opportunities while Trail went 1 for 5.
Garrett Beckwith had a strong effort for the Smokies as he stopped 36 of the 40 shots he faced. Beckwith also made key saves at key times. He denied Nelson native Mitch Labreche with 30 seconds left in regulation and stopped a Jordan Grant breakaway in overtime.
The night didn't end well for Powell River goaltender Michael Garteig. After giving up the losing goal Garteig took a match penalty for attacking Smokies goaltender Kiefer Smiley. As Smiley was skating from the bench towards Mailey to celebrate the goal, Garteig twice slashed Smiley in the back of the leg.
The game was Trail's 4th win in their last 5 games and gives the Smokies sole possession of 6th place in the Interior Conference. Quesnel is 1 point ahead in 5th while Merritt is a single point behind in 7th. Prince George is now 6 points out of the final playoff spot and 7 behind the Smoke Eaters.
ON THE TRAIL: Injuries kept Graeme Strukoff, Mitch Kaufmann, Justin Brown and Thomas Abenante off the road trip. The Smokies only have 18 skaters on the trip and Travis St. Denis left tonight`s game in the third period with a lower body injury. He`s day to day ... The Kings and Smokies meet again this coming Tuesday in Trail ... Powell River has a couple of connections to the Smokies and the West Kootenay. Lebreche is from Nelson and a former Leaf, Chad Niddery played for Grand Forks in the KIJHL and Jordan Grant once played for Smokies Coach Jim Ingram in the VIJHL ... The Smokies will continue their road trip in Victoria on Friday, Port Alberni on Saturday and Langley on Sunday. All games will be available on Mountain FM.
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