Trail, BC - The Smoke Eaters finally got a happy ending in overtime. After dropping recent games to Merritt and Salmon Arm in extra time, Nick Sandor scored early in the second overtime to give Trail a 5-4 win over Penticton on Tuesday night.
Sandor scored after Scott Jacklin completed a hard working shift with a steal in the Vees zone and a perfect feed to the Smokies sniper. It was the 2nd of the night for Sandor and his 24th of the season.
The goal put a cap on a very entertaining and dramatic game. It was a throwback to the unprecedented 4 overtime wins the Smokies had over Penticton last season at the Cominco Arena.
Trail took an early lead on Sandor's first goal only 55 seconds into the game. Beau Bennett tied the game on the power play.
Each time one team got a lead the other struck back. When Mitch Kaufmann scored on a wicked hop off the glass to give Trail a 2-1 lead, Stefan Nicholishen answered for Penticton. After Eric Walker notched his third of the season to put Trail up again, Byron Sorensen answered with his first goal as a Vee.
The Smokies may have been having flashbacks to blown leads against the Centennials and Silverbacks as the Vees took a 4-3 lead early in the third period. However, Travis St. Denis won a face off by wiring a puck past Sean Bonar to send the game to overtime.
Kiefer Smiley made 32 saves in the win for Trail including several key stops in the third period. Sean Bonnar stopped 29 pucks in a losing cause for Penticton.
It was the first win of the season for the Smokies against the Vees and only their second against a team in the Interior's top 4. Their next action is against Merritt on Saturday night in Trail.
ON THE TRAIL: The line of Justin Brown, Paul Mailey and Steve Oursov was matched up consistently against Denver Manderson's line. While Manderson and Bennett both got multiple points, the two-way line for Trail was able to hold them off the board at even strength ... Penticton won the special teams battle with 2 power play goals on 3 chances while they shut down all 3 Trail advantages. Trail had a slight edge at even strength ... The Vees had a goal called back on a high stick ... The Smokies were again without defenceman Graeme Strukoff and forward Thomas Abenante due to injuries. Abenante is likely done for the remainder of the season after recent surgery on his ankle ... Smokies defenceman Eric Walker had an extra reason to celebrate as his cousin Luke won a gold medal as a member of Team USA at the World Junior Championship. The Americans beat Canada in overtime just as the Smokies and Vees were starting to play the first period.