Friday, November 30, 2012

Kings 4 Smoke Eaters 3

J.P. Villeneuve and Bradley Parker each enjoyed three-point nights as the Kings tripped up the Smokies 4-3 in Powell River Friday.

Villeneuve's wrist shot from the right circle 3:51 into the third period also proved to be the game-winner, as Powell River frustrated a short-handed Trail squad, and capitalized on timely bounces and turnovers to push the Smokies' winless skid to four games.

Trail, who were without seven regulars, opened the scoring on a bounce of their own 7:46 into the first period. The puck came to Scott Davidson who let go a quick wrist shot that beat Kings netminder Jonah Imoo. It was Davidson's third goal of the season, and first away from home in the BCHL.

The lead, though, lasted less than four minutes. After a failed clearance, Powell River rookie Parker unleashed a shot from the left-wing corner that bounced in off the back of Smoke Eaters goaltender Lyndon Stanwood. Powell River took the lead at 16:57 when Stephen Hiff fired home from the slot with the Smokies serving the first of two too-many-men penalties on the night.

The Kings would increase their lead to 3-1 early in the second as Parker strode down the left wing, cut goal-ward and powered the puck through Stanwood for his second goal of the game.

Trail had chances to cut the lead, namely a Luke Sandler penalty shot that missed the top corner, and a Djordje Leposavic point bomb that struck iron. Minutes later, Leposavic one-timed home a Braden Pears cross-crease pass on a Trail power-play to bring the visitors to within a goal at the second intermission.

Powell River would reclaim a two-goal lead thanks to Villeneuve, who found open space down the right wing after a Trail defenseman pinched at centre-ice. Villeneuve took Parker's pass and ripped a wrister past Stanwood for his eleventh goal of the season.

Once again, Trail would mount a comeback. Captain, and ex-King Garrett McMullen walked around a Powell River defenseman and snapped a shot over Imoo's right shoulder with just under 5 minutes left to cut the Powell River lead to 4-3. In the end, the Smokies could only muster 5 shots on goal in period three (including a Brent Baltus effort from the slot that Imoo had to dive across his crease to block), and a too-many-men penalty assessed inside the final two minutes quelled any idea of a rally.

The short-staffed Smoke Eaters kept their gameplan simple for the most part, but the few mistakes the team did make wound up in the back of the net. With both Vernon and Salmon Arm losing Friday, the loss stings all the more as a victory would have seen the Smokies leap-frog both clubs back into playoff contention. It's up to the leaders on the team now to help everyone shake off tonight's disappointment ahead of another must-win game tomorrow in Coquitlam.

My Three Stars:
1. Bradley Parker, Powell River
2. Scott Davidson, Trail
3. J.P. Villeneuve, Powell River

Up Next: Trail visits the Coquitlam Express to continue the road swing tomorrow. Game time is 7:00.

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