Thursday, December 6, 2012

Smoke Eaters 2 Vipers 1 (OT)

Garrett McMullen's goal 13 seconds into 3-on-3 OT sealed a second straight comeback victory for Trail in Vernon, as the Smokies nipped the Vipers 2-1.

McMullen and linemate Brent Baltus each had 2 points as Trail collected its 5th overtime victory of the season.

The Vipers struck first 9:32 into the first period, when Adam Tambellini lifted a rebound past an outstretched Lyndon Stanwood for his 18th goal of the season.

Trail replied early in the second while short-handed, when McMullen forced Vernon defenseman Ryan Renz into a turnover, then fed out front to Baltus who one-timed his BCHL-best 21st goal past goaltender Austin Smith.

Baltus' goal would round out the regulation-time scoresheet, though both teams had chances aplenty to break the deadlock.

Stanwood made the save of the game late in period two off Colton Sparrow, who deflected a point shot on goal, then grabbed his own rebound and tried to outwait the Trail netminder, who stoned him on the backhand.

McMullen, Baltus and Austin Adduono all enjoyed point-blank chances in the third, while Tambellini struck iron from the right face-off circle with 25 seconds remaining in the period.

Trail grew more confident as the game wore on, and made quick work of a game-winner in double overtime. After receiving a pass from Baltus, Braden Pears strode down the right wing, firing a pass to a wide-open McMullen in the slot. The captain made no mistake, slotting home his 12th goal of the season.

KIJHL affiliates Hunter Jenerou (Castlegar) and Stefan Wood (Kamloops) performed well on the back end in their BCHL debuts, while BV forward Riley Brandt caused a ruckus in the offensive zone on a fourth line with Jake Lucchini and Mitch Foyle.

Stanwood made 35 saves to collect the win.

My 3 Stars:
1. Garrett McMullen, Trail
2. Lyndon Stanwood, Trail
3. Austin Smith, Vernon

Up Next: the Smokies return home to host the Langley Rivermen tomorrow. Game time is 7:30.

Roster Moves: the Smokies suspended forward Ryan Edwards Thursday after he left the team without permission after yesterday's practice. From my vantage point, the 19 year-old was just starting to come in to his own and developing great rapport on-ice with the likes of Adam Wheeldon and Connor Collett, and was playing a similar role to the one assigned Brent Baltus last season. Why he chose to leave isn't my business, but only a handful of weeks after telling me in an interview that it was "a lifelong dream of his" to wear the Smoke Eater uniform, it comes as a shock, and a disappointment. I wish him nothing but the best of luck in the future, and there's no question that whoever gains his services (be it the Nitehawks or otherwise) are better for it.

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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