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.

Just Posted

Vernon students get course in financial literacy

Credit union liaison teaches students about everything financial to help them plan their futures

Vernon stores part of company holiday food drive

Donate food or cash until Dec. 24 at Wholesale Club or Superstore

Vernon runner third at nationals

Robyn Poulin wins bronze in masters women’s race, gold in age group; handful of local runners compete

New management team for Vernon Upper Room Mission

Trio introduced at open house as they share their goals and vision for the Vernon facility

Kelowna blanks North Okanagan Knights

Both goalies were game stars Saturday in the Chiefs’ 3-0 win

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

West Kelowna house fire demonstrates danger posed by candles

West Kelowna Fire Rescue says an unattended candle caused the Sunday afternoon fire.

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

Mitchell’s Musings: Not to be taken internally, seiously?

Common sense needed more than warning labels

Most Read