Saturday, January 21, 2012

Smoke Eaters 5 Silverbacks 4 (OT)

Erik Cooper scored on a penalty shot in the final minute of 3-on-3 overtime as the Smokies came back to sneak past Salmon Arm 5-4 in extra time in the Shuswap.

After Riley McDougall's first as a Smokie and Tanner Clarkson paced Trail to a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Silverbacks scored four unanswered goals to storm ahead 4-2 after 40 minutes.

But for the second time this month against Salmon Arm, the Smokies fought back.

First, Brandon Long's second goal in as many games cut the lead to 4-3, then Cooper's second equalizer against the 'Backs in January lifted Trail into a tie in the final 3 minutes.

The 20 year-old Alaskan then ended things after being awarded a penalty shot, after being checked to the head in his defensive zone by Silverbacks forward Stefan Nicholishen. Cooper snapped a wrister past the blocker of Salmon Arm goaltender Adam Clark to seal Trail's first away victory since November 6th, and their second win against the Silverbacks in as many tries.

Lyndon Stanwood collected the victory in goal for Trail, his second straight and fourth overall since joining the Smokies from the KIJHL.

Needless to say, a real character win for the Smokies, and one that saw them take advantage of many opportunities granted them by Salmon Arm. A needless penalty in overtime added to the eight power-plays granted Trail through the 60 minutes of regulation (the Smokies scoring 3 times on the man-advantage), and you can make the argument that a win like tonight's could well have been a season-changer if it happened in October or November. Nonetheless, a hard-earned away split for Trail, and surely tonight's game will act as solace for a frustrating end to Friday's game in Vernon.

Up Next: Trail take their road show to the coast beginning with a Friday night tilt against old friend Steve Koshey and the Surrey Eagles.

Local Hockey Tonight: The line of Anthony Delong, Dylan Sibbald and Tyler Robinson combined for 12 points in a 9-1 Castlegar Rebels win over Grand Forks. Attendance at the Castlegar Complex was 92, disappointing given the Rebels were the only local junior team in action at home tonight. Beaver Valley shut out Kelowna 4-0 but will lose forward Tyler Collins to a one-game suspension for tomorrow's tilt with the Rebels in Castlegar (for fighting in the final ten minutes). Nelson beat Columbia Valley 4-1. The major midget Kootenay Ice were victorious as well tonight, 4-3 in Prince George against the Cariboo Cougars.

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