A wild third-period rally fell just short in Penticton Wednesday as the Vees edged the Smoke Eaters 7-6.
Trail started strongly out of the gate, going ahead 1-0 on a Jesse Knowler wrister 1:21 in as the Smokies forced the issue on the home side early.
Two unlucky breaks would lead to a pair of Vees goals before the break. First, the Smokies were called for icing although it appeared one linesman had called Adam Wheeldon's dump-in legal. On the ensuing sequence, Sam Mellor fired home from the left faceoff circle, tying the game at one.
Cam Amantea would take advantage of a wacky bounce behind the net alone in front, outwaiting Trail starter Adam Todd for his first goal in 17 games.
The Vees came out flying in period two, as both Louie Nanne and Wade Murphy struck for a pair of goals each (Murphy's second effort a short-handed marker) to take a 7-2 lead after 40. Trail's only goal, a power-play wrister from the right point from Shane Poulsen, his fifth of the season.
The score remained 7-2 until midway through the third when Trail mounted an improbable comeback. First Ryan Edwards scored to make it 7-3, then Austin Adduono banged home a rebound to make it 7-4.
Less than a minute after Adduono's goal, Valik Chichkin's point shot appeared to take a deflection and sail in. The goal, which was credited to newcomer Bennett Hambrook, chased Penticton starter Chad Katunar.
Newcomer Nic Renyard surrendered a backhander to Tyler Berkholtz to cut Penticton's lead to 7-6 with just under 3 minutes left, and the Smokies just kept pressing.
A high-stick on Vees captain Troy Stecher proved to be too much for Trail to handle though, and the home side escaped with two points after a Penticton win seemed certain after two periods.
My Three Stars:
1. Wade Murphy, Penticton
2. Tyler Berkholtz, Trail
3. Louie Nanne, Penticton
Up Next: Trail begins a home-and-home with Salmon Arm on home ice Friday night. Gametime is 7:30 at Cominco Arena.
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