A valiant effort from a short-staffed Smoke Eaters team fell just short in West Kelowna tonight.
Erik Cooper and Shane Poulsen each had three points but the Warriors skated to victory on a bouncing dump-in from Dustin Cave with seven minutes remaining in the third period.
Westside opened the scoring midway through period one when Brennan Clark converted a centring feed from Devon Hascarl.
The Warriors extended their advantage 7 seconds into period two, as Shawn Hochhausen broke in and snapped a wrister past Trail goaltender Lyndon Stanwood.
The Smokies got a lucky bounce minutes later, after a Garrett McMullen dump-in was bobbled by Warriors goaltender James Leonard only for Cooper to fire home the first of his two goals on the rebound.
After the home team went up 3-1, the Smokies got an offensive spark from Poulsen and Adam Wheeldon, who replied in quick succession. Wheeldon's goal was a tip-in off a Poulsen point-shot, to boot.
The Warriors took a 4-3 advantage into the final frame before Cooper snapped home a wrist shot on a Trail power-play three minutes into period three.
Cave's goal, his first of the BCHL season, stood up as the game-winner as Leonard collected only his second win, both against Trail.
Despite the loss, the Smokies battled hard and were full marks for at least a point. Cooper was dangerous on every shift, while Poulsen played arguably his best game in a Trail uniform. Stanwood was strong, as usual, between the pipes too keeping the Smokies close with several huge stops.
Up Next: Trail returns home to face Merritt Wednesday night in the first of three games at Cominco Arena next week.
Local Hockey Tonight: Beaver Valley shook off a plucky Spokane Braves side in game two of their first-round playoff series. Max Flanagan scored the winner for BV in overtime after Ryan Edwards tied the game in the final minute of the third period. Nelson earned an away split after a 2-1 away win in Castlegar. In major midget play, Kootenay fell 5-2 to the Valley West Hawks.
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