Darren Nowick continued his mastery of the Trail Smoke Eaters with a wrist shot from the slot 15 seconds into the second overtime to help Vernon to a 2-1 extra-time win.
Nowick, who scored twice in a 6-3 Vipers victory at the Cominco Arena on October 22nd, cut across the high slot from left to right before firing a low shot past Smokies goaltender James D'Andrea after the Vipers had killed a too many men penalty in the four-on-four session.
Colton Sparrow put the visitors ahead on a breakaway late in the first period, as he streaked down the left wing away from a Smokies defenseman after a long clearance from Connor Hartley.
Trail tied the game late in the second period on the power-play, as Garrett McMullen caught Vipers goaltender Kirby Halcrow out of position, snapping a wrister home from the right circle.
Trail played perhaps their most disciplined game of the season, allowing the Vipers only one power-play while scoring once on seven opportunities. Four of Vernon's penalties (all to defensemen) were for high hits or checks from behind.
Vernon did a terrific job preventing shots from the point from reaching the net. I counted at least ten blocked shots, including a stretch of three in short succession during the overtime power-play. Trail outshot the Vipers 32-29 on the night, which counts as only the fourth time this season the Smokies have held a shots on goal advantage at the end of 60, or in this case 65 minutes and 15 seconds.
In all, despite the overtime setback, a terrific bounce-back effort by a short Smokies bench after an extremely frustrating two games against Salmon Arm and Penticton. The Vipers were missing bodies, admittedly, but were beatable tonight, and Trail was full marks for the point they received in the standings.
Did You See: Smokies forward Brent Baltus and Vernon forward Sparrow went toe to toe at the side of the Trail net in the third period. Sparrow landed a few early right hands but Baltus stood his ground and reciprocated as the bout went on. He told me after the game it was his first fight.
Family Ties: Nice to meet a few of the Smokies parents after the game tonight, as the team celebrated Parents Weekend. For those of you who visited from out of town, I hope you enjoyed your time in the West Kootenay, for the local parents, see you at the rink again soon!
Tip O' The Hat: To local hurler Chris Kissock, who dropped the puck for tonight's ceremonial faceoff. He was a member of Team Canada's gold medal-winning squad at the recent Pan Am Games in Mexico, notching the save in the semi-final. Kissock, a former Nitehawk and Smokie, has spent the last season and a half with Reading, the AA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Up Next: Trail travels to Penticton to begin a home-and-home with the Vees Wednesday night. The two sides play a return engagement at Cominco Arena next Sunday afternoon.
Local Hockey Tonight: Former Smokies d-man J.J. Beitel put up five points in a 14-0 Nelson Leafs victory over Grand Forks. Linden Horswill and Brett Norman both had hat-tricks. The Castlegar Rebels were shut out 2-0 in Penticton, while Craig Martin and Chris Derochie both scored twice in Beaver Valley's 6-4 victory at Princeton. In BC college action, Selkirk were defeated 5-3 by Trinity Western University at the Complex in Castlegar. The Spartans pulled out a win thanks to three goals in the third period.