Brandon Bruce scored on a short-handed breakaway midway through the third period to lift the Centennials to a 3-1 win over Trail in Merritt.
It was a game that started brightly for the Smokies, who went ahead 1-0 10:09 into the game. While on a powerplay, defenseman Valik Chichkin fired a wrist shot from the point past Cents starter Tyler Steel. It was Chichkin's second BCHL goal and first as a Smoke Eater.
The lead remained static until the late stages of the second, when on a powerplay of their own, Cents playmaker Regan Soquila wristed his third goal past Trail goaltender Lyndon Stanwood from the left circle.
The two sides traded chances, and post hits, until Bruce put the hosts up for good, taking advantage of a turnover at the Trail line, breaking in and snapping the puck five-hole for his fifth goal of the year.
Brendan Lamont would add an empty-netter in the dying embers of the third.
Stanwood, for his part, made 42 saves, 19 alone in the second period. Neither team had much room to move the puck through the middle of the ice, and in the end it was Merritt's ability to take advantage of one of the Smokies' few miscues to earn the two points, and close to within a game of first-place Penticton.
My Three Stars:
1. Regan Soquila, Merritt
2. Lyndon Stanwood, Trail
3. Tyler Steel, Merritt
Up Next: The Smokies return home for two games next weekend, beginning Friday against Prince George. Faceoff is at 7:30 at Cominco Arena.
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.
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