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

Vernon councillor wins award for efforts to end racism

Vernon city councillor Dalvir Nahal received the award for her work to increase awareness of the Sikh culture and history, by breaking down cultural barriers in the Okanagan to fight racism.

Dust advisory in affect for Kelowna

Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic

SilverStar launches Seismic Spring Festival

Vernon mountain full of fun events for 10-days

Dust advisory continues for 5th day in Vernon

Staying indoors and in air-conditioned spaces helps to reduce particulate exposure.

Economic, residential growth solid in Vernon

City comes off impressive year for buidling permits, both residential and commercial

Rain may be on its way for the Okanagan Valley

A mix of sun and cloud, with periods of rain in the forecast

Kelowna RCMP bust speeding, uninsured driver with $1,357 fine

RCMP keeping watchful eye on roads now that roads are bare

Homeless South Okanagan man allegedly doused in ice water while he slept

Community outraged at treatment of well-known homeless community member

Kelowna coffee maker responds to product recall

Cherry Hill Coffee recovers 90 per cent of voluntary recalled cold brew coffee

Tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Mayor seeks to reduce eyesore of fire damaged 7-Eleven

Business asked to improve appearance of Salmon Arm building’s exterior by our tourist season

Fundraiser for South Okanagan “supermom” who died suddenly

Friends described the 40-year-old Penticton woman as a supermom.

Car torched in Kelowna: $1,000 reward offered for return of stolen massage machine

Odette Baumgartner’s vehicle was stolen and then burned. Now she just wants her machine back

Vernon workshop explores anxiety in search of hope

Understanding Anxiety and Embracing Hope event open to registration

Most Read