Victoria, BC - The Grizzlies put Trail's offense into hibernation on Friday night. Despite averaging 39 shots in their last 6 games, the Smokies could only put 17 on Victoria goaltender Ryan Holfeld in a 4-1 loss.
The Grizzlies got out to a quick lead with 2 goals in 61 seconds mid-way through the first period. The fast start allowed Victoria to play a shut down game the rest of the way in what was a smothering display of defensive hockey.
It looked like the Smokies would get out of a lopsided second period still only down by 2 when Brandon Fagerheim may have put the final nail in Trail's coffin by scoring with 16 seconds left in the frame.
With a 3 goal deficit to overcome in the third the Smokies just couldn't get anything going. Victoria held them to only 9 shots in the final 40 minutes.
Trail came to life a little bit when a Gregory Simpson hit from behind on Sam Mellor drew the ire of both Steve Koshey and the referee. The Smokies defenceman dropped the glove to defend his teammate and Trail was able to take advantage of the resulting power play. Scott Jacklin scored the goal by tipping in a point blast from Curtis Tonello.
The goal was Jacklin's 15th of the season and his team leading 9th power play goal. Mellor got the other assist on the play.
Garrett Beckwith made 27 saves on 30 shots against before heading to the bench for a 6 on 5 attack late in the game. Joel Lowry put an end to that attack with an empty net marker.
The win was the 7th straight for Victoria since their 4-0 loss on December 19th in Trail.
ON THE TRAIL: The Smokies list of walking wounded grew after their overtime win in Powell River. Travis St. Denis joins Graeme Strukoff, Mitch Kaufmann, Justin Brown and Thomas Abenante on the list of injured Smoke Eaters. Trail had to call up affiliate player Nikolas Vanstone from Kerry Park in the VIJHL to fill in for the injures St. Denis ... The game was Trail's first in Victoria since the 2007-08 season. It ties the season series at a win each ... It was a home coming for Sean Nugent who played lacrosse for the Victoria Shamrocks. Nugent showed the edge that makes him a tough opponent in both sports when he dropped the gloves in a lively tilt against Brad Pawlowski ... After allowing an early power play goal the Smokies penalty kill held Victoria's man advantage off the board on 5 more opportunities. Trail went 1 for 2 on the power play.