NOTE: St. Denis has now been given credit for Trail's first goal. He tipped in the shot by Betz. Betz also has been credited with an assist on Brown's goal.
Trail, BC - Sean Nugent and Justin Brown broke a third period tie to lead the Smoke Eaters to their first win over Westside in a year and a half. The 4-2 victory gives Trail a 6 point cushion on Prince George for the Interior's final playoff spot.
Kiefer Smiley stopped all 24 shots he faced after relieving Garrett Beckwith in Trail's net at the start of the second period. The Smoke Eaters now have a win or an overtime loss in all of their last four games.
Trail opened the scoring when Mike Betz fired it through a crowd just seconds after the Smokies power play expired. Sam Mellor also scored for the orange and black in the first on a terrific feed from Scott Jacklin.
Kyle Singleton and Max French responded for the Warriors who twice came back from one goal deficits.
Both teams played a gritty and simple game throughout the final 40 minutes. It looked like neither side would find a way to break the deadlock until Josh McEwan stole a Kevin Jebson clearing attempt and set up Nugent for the winner.
Brown capped off a nice Steve Oursov rush by knocking his own rebound out of mid-air to put the game out of reach.
After getting out scored 3-0 on special teams against Penticton, the Smokies held the Westside power play off the score sheet on Friday night. The game also had a decidedly physical side and that intensity may boil over when they face off again on Saturday night at the Cominco Arenea.
ON THE TRAIL: Travis St. Denis looked solid in his return to Trail's line-up. The Smokies are still missing Mitch Kaufmann and Thomas Abenante to injury. Only Kaufmann is expected to return before the end of the season ... With 2 assists Nick Sandor was the only Smoke Eater with multiple points in the game ... Jebson stopped 25 of the 29 shots Trail fired at him. It was his first loss against Trail this season and only the second time the Smoke Eaters have topped him in his Warriors career ... Westside played the game without leading scorer Trevor Bailey. The 40 goal scorer is expected back in time for the playoffs.
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