West Kelowna scored twice in each period, and Tyler Briggs stopped all 20 shots he faced as the Warriors blanked the Smokies 6-0 in the Okanagan Friday.
The home side opened the scoring just shy of the 11 minute mark when Marcus Basara strode down the left wing and ripped a wrist shot into the top right corner past the outstretched glove-hand of Trail starter Lyndon Stanwood. It was Basara's fourth goal of the season series.
West Kelowna would add to their lead later in the opening frame as Brennan Clark roofed the first of his two goals from close proximity after the puck bounced to him in the low slot. The 17 year-old's line with Brent Lashuk and Matt Anholt combined for eight points on the night.
Two second-period goals in a span of 2:20 late in the middle frame put the Warriors up front 4-0 after 40 minutes. First, Lashuk fired a low wrister through heavy traffic in front of the Smoke Eater net off an offensive-zone faceoff. Then Anholt broke in alone on a short-handed breakaway, beating Stanwood to the blocker side.
Seb Lloyd would add a fifth Warrior tally before Clark rounded out the scoring on a late third-period power play.
Briggs, making his third consecutive start against Trail, was forced to be good tonight too. The Clarkson College commit stymied Smokies forward Brent Baltus twice from close range early in the game, and made other point-blank saves on the likes of Luke Sandler and Jesse Knowler too. It was Briggs' second shutout of the season after an identical 6-0 triumph over Salmon Arm at the Showcase in Chilliwack.
While last Friday's Warriors win was spear-headed by the top line of Max French, Brett McKinnon and Reid Simmonds, tonight was also a different story. Yes, the top unit (with Simmonds replaced by rookie Ambrose Firkus) was dangerous, but they were held off the scoresheet, while other role players stepped up.
The one-sided scoreline doesn't speak to the Smokies compete level, either. This team battled hard, and while Trail was certainly outchanced the consensus post-game was that maybe the club deserved a better fate tonight. Nonetheless, the struggles away from home continue, as Trail has now been outscored 28-6 in its last four road games. Tomorrow's tangle with the Penticton Vees will be another challenge, and one this club will definitely have to be at its best in to earn a result.
My Three Stars:
1. Brennan Clark, West Kelowna
2. Brent Lashuk, West Kelowna
3. Tyler Briggs, West Kelowna.
Up Next: The Smokies will spend the night in Penticton before Saturday's visit with the Vees. Please note the early start time of 5:00 PM.