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

Police search warrant valid in Sagmoen case: Supreme Court

Evidence expected to be presented in court

CMHA Vernon Crisis Chat celebrates six-month milestone

With more than 20,000 calls and interactions every year, CMHA seeks more volunteers for Interior

Man wanted by Vernon RCMP

Dustin Kenneth Veselic may be connected to the Kelowna area

Vernon Vipers survive collapse, edge Cents in shootout

Merritt rallies from 6-0 and 7-2 deficits to earn single BCHL point against Snakes

Vernon Vipers game going to the dogs

Vipers to host Pacific Assistance Dog Society Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m., Kal Tire Place

‘Kind of lacking:’ Injured Bronco wonders why Canada won’t fund spinal surgery

“I think if Canada can step in and advance this program”

Book examines history of B.C. wine industry

Author Luke Whittall has studied the growth of the industry since the mid-19th century

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Competitive Christmas decorating takes sarcastic turn in Princeton

It’s not uncommon for neighbours to good-naturely compete with one another when… Continue reading

Alleged Penticton shooter John Brittain waives preliminary trial

Brittain will return to court in January to schedule a trial date

B.C. government clarifies rototilling rules for Okanagan lakes

Okanagan Basin Water Board recently signed a five-year agreement for rototilling in Okanagan region

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Strangers offer kids candy out of a van in Revelstoke

The RCMP were unable to locate the vehicle

Most Read