Trail Smoke Eaters defenceman Powell Connor, a native of Vernon (left), tries to poke the puck away from Vipers forward Jesse Lansdell during the B.C. Hockey League Interior Conference semifinal opener Friday night in Vernon. The Smoke Eaters scored three times in the third period for a 3-1 win, their fifth straight post-season victory. (Katherine Peters - Black Press)

Trail wins series opener against Vernon

All scoring comes in third period as Smoke Eaters beat Vipers 3-1 in BCHL Interior semifinal opener

Winning on the road in the 2019 B.C. Hockey League playoffs hasn’t been a problem for the Trail Smoke Eaters.

Trail, seeded seventh, won its fifth straight post-season game – and third away from Cominco Arena in four tries – Friday, downing the fourth-ranked Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the opening game of the best-of-seven Interior Conference semifinal in front of 1, 771 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Game 2 goes Saturday, 7 p.m., in Vernon. The series shifts to Trail for Games 3 and 4 Tuesday and Wednesday.

The loss snapped Vernon’s four-game post-season winning streak.

RELATED: Vernon Vipers to tangle with Trail

All the scoring in the opener came in the third period, but it will be a missed penalty shot by the Vipers’ Teddy Wooding with 72 seconds left in regulation that will be talked about.

With the Vipers trailing 2-1, Wooding took a gorgeous pass from defenceman Michael Young, split the Trail defence and was hauled down in front of Smokies goalie Donovan Buskey to draw the penalty shot.

On the attempt, Wooding tried to deke to the forehand but was stopped by Buskey’s pad.

Carter Jones salted the game away seven seconds later, scoring into an empty net.

Ben Sanderson opened the scoring for Vernon at 2:21 of the third period, his second of the post-season, set up by defenceman Landon Fuller.

Trail tied the game 1:16 later when Braden Tuck scored his third of the playoffs, assisted by Max Kryski and Kieran O’Hearn. Spencer McLean got the game-winner 2:12 later, assisted by Tyler Ghirardosi.

Vernon had several chances to tie the game before Wooding’s penalty shot from Sanderson, Elan Bar lev wise and Matt Kowalski, with Buskey making a couple of huge saves to keep his team ahead.

Buskey finished with 16 saves – Trail held Vernon to just eight shots through the first two periods – while Aidan Porter made 21 saves in goal for Vernon.

The Smoke Eaters are hoping to return to the Interior Conference final, where they fell in five games to the eventual 2018 champion Wenatchee Wild, who eliminated the Vipers in the conference semis a year ago.

The Wild fell 3-2 at home Friday in their semifinal opener to the upstart Cowichan Valley Capitals, as the eighth-seeded crossover team from the Island Division continues to work their way through the Interior division. The Caps upset the division champion Penticton Vees in the first round in six games.

The Island and Mainland Division finals got underway Friday.

On the Island, the hometown Victoria Grizzlies dispatched the Powell River Kings 4-1.

In the Mainland Division, the Prince George Spruce Kings went into Chilliwack and hammered the regular-season champion, and defending Canadian champion, Chiefs 7-0.

#Trail Smoke EatersBCHLVernon Vipers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon pool prices bubble up 4%

New lifeguard requirements means hours cut, price increase

Former manager returns to Record City to drop debut

Steve Marc will perform at Record City Thursday, Feb. 27, 7-10 p.m.

Vernon rhythmic gymnast enjoying powerful season

Halle Moger, 16, has won nine gold medals at three early-season events

Vernon skater wins double gold at nationals

Speedskater Nate Benn collects four medals at Canadian Youth Long Track finals

Goose cull a no go in Vernon

Tied vote meant defeat for councillors in favour of the kill program

Morning Start: How many grapes go into a bottle of wine?

Your morning start for Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

Do you talk to your spouse about money? 42% of Canadians don’t, poll suggests

Politics, sex, religion top list of taboo subjects for Canadians

IHOP to host seventh annual National Pancake Day

IHOP will be offering free short-stack pancakes in support of BC Children’s Hospital on Tuesday

Financial expert to help South Okanagan school board with substantial deficit

The board of trustees for School District 67 will hire outside help to deal with budget concerns

Surrey man pleads guilty on first day of West Kelowna murder trial

Tejwant Danjou is charged with second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu

Trout ‘doing quite well’ at Kootenay hatchery after otters, who ate 150 fish, relocated

River otters had been pillaging a moat outside the facility for months, gobbling up about 150 trout

Okanagan animal sanctuary seeks to fit frostbitten baby goat with prosthetic leg

Fundraiser started to help Zuri, newest resident of Twin Hearts Animal Sanctuary

Chase rail blockade resumes after four-day truce

Protest held in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation regarding RCMP, LNG pipeline

Most Read