Bryce Gervais and Kody Dhaliwal combined for 7 goals as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks scored their 4th victory over the Smoke Eaters this season at the Sunwave Centre.
After Gervais opened the scoring, Trail enjoyed a flurry of pressure in the offensive zone before a series of lapses allowed the Silverbacks to tack on three more goals (two of which came from the Battlefords product) before the period was out.
James D'Andrea came on to replace goaltender Reed Vogt at the outset of the second period, but a Brock Balson howitzer quickly extended the Salmon Arm lead as the 'Backs went on to score 6 more goals over the course of the final 39:49.
Marley Keca and Craig Martin both scored third-period power-play goals from in close to put Trail on the board, for Martin his third tally in as many games as he continues to impress the Smoke Eaters brass.
Surely a frustrating result for a Trail team with a lot of new faces, three of whom (Martin, Stuart Walton and Dane Birks) dressed as APs. Adam Fares played sparingly after missing Sunday's game in Westside, and Tanner Hicks did dress despite earlier speculation that he could miss time. The intensity and physicality that was prevalent from both sides on Saturday night simply wasn't there this evening, save a spirited second-period bout that saw Trail forward Erik Cooper score a takedown on Silverbacks rookie Mak Barden.
Is this a tired hockey team? No doubt. 7 games in 10 days with a total of 3,300 kilometres logged on the Trail Blazer would exhaust even the most hardy athlete, and no question everyone associated with this team understands the urgency of getting points yesterday. Trail now plays five of their next seven games on home ice after 7 of the past 8 on the road, I don't doubt this group will be very motivated to perform well in front of family and friends this weekend (it is "Parents Weekend" after all) against Penticton and Vernon clubs currently short-handed thanks to the World Junior "A" Challenge.
Up Next: Trail hosts the Penticton Vees Friday (7:30, Cominco Arena). The season series is split 1-1 following a 4-3 Trail win on October 19th, and three of the next four for the Smokies are against the Vees.
Beitel To The Leafs?: The Nelson Daily is now reporting former Smokie J.J. Beitel is practicing with the KIJHL's Nelson Leafs, who are missing no fewer than five defensemen due to injury. Beitel was released to make room on Trail's 21-man roster for new blueliner Shane Poulsen. He scored 3 points in 14 games with Trail this season.
WJAC Update: Castlegar's Aaron Hadley (Vernon Vipers) scored the only Team Canada West goal in a 6-1 loss to the United States tonight in Langley. It is, to this point, Canada West's only goal of the tournament through two games played. Canada West faces the Czech Republic Thursday.