Trail scored three times on the power-play, and Lyndon Stanwood made 39 saves as the Smokies doubled the Victoria Grizzlies 4-2 at Cominco Arena Friday.
Stanwood was the man of the hour, holding the Grizzlies, in particular the line of Myles, Leo and Gerry Fitzgerald at bay as the Smokies, despite being outshot 41-16, snapped a 7-game winless skid in front of more than 1,100 fans in Trail.
Victoria jumped out to the early advantage territorially, and possession-wise, but the Smokies went ahead 1-0 on a power-play just shy of the 12-minute mark when Braden Pears' point shot went in through traffic. For Pears, it was his first goal as a Smoke Eater, and gave the home side a boost after the Grizzlies had a couple of close calls early on.
It would be Victoria's discipline that would cost them tonight. Needless penalties for cross-checks, interfering with the goaltender and checking Smokies captain Garrett McMullen after the whistle turned into two more goals, and a potential Victoria 5-on-3 squandered.
Trail took advantage on a two-man powerplay of their own early in period two, as Shane Poulsen calmly snapped a puck into the top corner for his fourth of the season.
After Myles Fitzgerald brought the visitors back to within one, Trail would score another power-play goal off a point bomb from Djordje Leposavic. The 20 year-old's first BCHL goal stood up as the eventual game-winner.
Jake Lucchini would add to Trail's lead in the third, putting a wrister through Victoria goaltender Brady Rouleau's legs after a terrific individual effort from Tyler Berkholtz to win a puck race in the offensive zone. Victoria would round out the scoring with just over three minutes left in the game, as Brett Hartskamp banged a rebound past Stanwood on a Grizzlies power-play.
The Smokies have put in a lot of work on special teams over the last couple of weeks, and tonight it paid off. Trail went 3/4 with the man-advantage and killed 5 of 6 Victoria opportunities. The pairing of Pears and Poulsen were terrific on the night in all situations and both were rewarded with a goal.
My Three Stars:
1. Lyndon Stanwood, Trail
2. Shane Poulsen, Trail
3. Myles Fitzgerald, Victoria
Up Next: The Smokies visit Salmon Arm Saturday in a battle for fourth place in the Interior division. The season-series opener is set for 7:00 at the Shaw Centre (pregame at 6:55).
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