Trail Smoke Eaters forward Kent Johnson celebrates the game-winner over the Vipers. (Jim Bailey/Trail Times)

Trail Smoke Eaters grind out win over Vernon Vipers

Trail Smoke Eaters Kent Johnson scored the game winner in a 3-2 victory over the Vernon Vipers

TRAIL — It was a grind, but the Trail Smoke Eaters gutted out a 3-2 victory over the Vernon Vipers on Wednesday at the Cominco Arena.

Smoke Eaters rookie Kent Johnson scored another big goal, spinning and firing a shot from the left faceoff circle and beating Vernon goalie Aidan Porter under the arm to break a 2-2 tie with 5:27 remaining in regulation, for Trail’s second win in three games against the Vipers this season.

The goal was Johnson’s 10th of the season and 20th point, and the 16-year-old Port Moody native has been a standout.

More important, both teams avoided another overtime match. Trail has gone to overtime in three of the past four games, and seven times this season, winning just once. And while Vernon sports an even more dismal overtime record (0-8), the prospect of OT was not a winning proposition for either team.

Related read: Trail earns tough point in Penticton

Related read: Trail grounds Eagles in shootout

Trail played a strong first period holding the Vipers to just five shots on net and going up 1-0 on a Carter Jones snipe from the high slot.

The Vipers drew even in the second period on a power play. A Jesse Lansdell shot squeezed through the pads of Smoke Eaters goalie Adam Marcoux but was cleared on the goal line by Trail defenceman Kieran O’Hearn. However, the clearing attempt went right to Matt Kowalski, who fired it right back and past Marcoux for his sixth of the season.

The game stayed tied at one through the middle frame despite a 20-13 edge in shots for the Smoke Eaters.

After an interference call on O’Hearn, Vernon took a 2-1 lead at 5:11 of the third. Alex Swetlikoff worked the puck to defenceman Jack Judson in the high slot and the Arizona State commit walked in and fired a shot past the glove of Marcoux for his fourth goal and 19th point of the season.

Trail went on the power play 15 seconds later, and replied when Hayden Rowan took a pass from Diarmad DiMurro at the top of the right circle, and with Tyler Ghirardosi wrecking havoc in front, wired a shot over the blocker of Porter to tie the game at 2-2 with 13:05 to play in regulation.

Vernon pulled their goalie in the final minute but Trail kept the Vipers to the perimeter and held on for the 3-2 victory.

Trail outshot Vernon 30-26 and went 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Vipers were 2-for-4.

Johnson was the game’s first star, the Vipers’ Kowalski second star, and Rowan third star.

The win leaves Trail (9-10-4-2) and Vernon (8-8-6-2) tied for sixth place with 24 points each in the Interior Division, however, the Vipers have a game in hand.

The Vipers are in West Kelowna on Friday and host the Victoria Grizzlies on Sunday.

 

Smokies forward Owen Ozar and Vipers D-man Michael Young battle in a Wednesday night game at the Cominco Arena. (Jim Bailey/Trail Times)

Just Posted

IPE Parade draws near

Armstrong’s 120th Interior Provincial Exhibition starts next Wednesday, Aug. 28

Meet Vernon’s newest homeless outreach team

The Vernon Homeless Outreach Team makes its first formal appearance Aug. 28 at Upper Room Mission

Vernon Pizza Huts raise dough for diabetes research

Vernon Pizza Hut locations raised more than $3,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Downstairs renter of torched Vernon home a British Army veteran, new Canadian

Owen Wilson was just beginning to settle into life in Canada when the blaze occurred

Smiles all around at O’Keefe Ranch’s Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day took place Aug. 18. at the historic O’Keefe Ranch

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

Man shot near Coalmont airlifted to hospital

A man was shot near Coalmont B.C. Saturday afternoon. The victim was… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Okanagan Nation bringing overdose awareness to Syilx Okanagan communities

The Purple Ribbon Campaign for International Overdose Awareness Day is Aug. 28

Most Read