Connor Collett took advantage of a Warriors defensive-zone miscue to stake the Smokies to a 4-3 overtime win Friday in West Kelowna.
Warriors goaltender Tyler Briggs misplayed the puck and fell while well out of his crease, allowing Braden Pears to feed Collett alone in the slot for his 7th goal of the year, as Trail won in overtime for the 7th time this season.
The Smokies took the lead 15 minutes in on a sharp wrister from Luke Sandler. The Illinois import took a centring feed from affiliate callup J.J. Beitel and snapped a quick shot over Briggs' shoulder.
The Warriors would answer back 24 seconds later when after a brilliant stop by Lyndon Stanwood off Max French, Seb Lloyd lifted the puck over the outstretched goaltender's pads for his 15th goal, which sent teddy bears raining to the ice.
Sandler would score on another long-range wrister in the opening minute of period two, before Brent Lashuk tied the game again on a power-play deflection. Beitel would restore Trail's one-goal lead before the break on a seeing-eye wrister through traffic.
The Warriors came out guns a-blazing in the third, and found an equalizer on another power-play goal from Jetlan Houcher. West Kelowna pressed, firing 13 of their 44 shots at Stanwood but the Trail goaltender stood tall, stopping 41 shots and collecting his 12th win of the season.
Collett's OT winner was the 3rd consecutive double-overtime goal for Trail, who moved to within 2 points of the 3rd place Warriors with the win. Stanwood was again strong in goal, as the Smokies also took a 3-2 season series lead on West Kelowna. Losses by Salmon Arm and Vernon see the Smoke Eaters reclaim sole possession of fourth in the Interior as well.
My Three Stars:
1. Luke Sandler, Trail
2. Max French, West Kelowna
3. Connor Collett, Trail
Up Next: The Smokies return home to continue their busy weekend Saturday against Vernon, before a Sunday home matinee versus Nanaimo. Tomorrow's game begins at 7:30.
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