Friday, January 4, 2013

Eagles 6 Smoke Eaters 3

Brady Shaw scored twice in the opening two-and-a-half minutes of the third period to break a deadlock and help Surrey to a 6-3 victory over the Smokies Friday in Trail.

Trail jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the game but the Eagles stormed back with four of their own in period three to post their fourth straight victory since the holiday break, and send the Smokies to a defeat in their first game of 2013.

Adam Wheeldon opened the scoring just past the four-minute mark, banging home a second rebound past an outstretched Michael Santaguida for his second goal in as many games. Trail thought they had a second when Mitch Foyle jumped on a loose puck in the crease minutes later, but was denied by the arm of Eagles forward Nicolas Pierog.

Surrey would see a potential scoring play disallowed later in the frame when it was adjudged forward Kevan Kilistoff interfered with Smoke Eaters starter Lyndon Stanwood in the crease.

The Smokies opened the second with an edge, and came close to extending their lead when Jesse Knowler fired a shot from the right wing toward an open net, but Santaguida (who had been collecting his discarded stick), dove across the face of the goal and caught Knowler's shot in dramatic fashion. The 2-0 lead eventually came to fruition just past the midway mark when Valik Chichkin strode in from the point and wristed home his fourth goal of the year from the left circle.

But Surrey would answer back 15 seconds later, when captain Brett Mulcahy converted a crisp centring feed from Devon Toews. Mulcahy would set up the Eagles' equalizer later in the period, when his rebound sat on the goalline for Drew Best to tap in on a Surrey two-on-one.

A roughing penalty to Luke Sandler carried over into the third period, and Surrey made the Smokies pay. First Shaw wristed home a shot from the right wing inside the first minute, then strode across the offensive zone at 2:18 to reach 20 goals on the season to give the visitors a shock 4-2 lead.

Braeden Jones' seeing-eye slapper cut the Trail deficit to 4-3 at the 13:31 mark. For Jones, it was his first BCHL goal in his first game after being sidelined since mid-October.

The Eagles would prevent Trail from completing the comeback, though. First Pierog converted on an odd-man rush, then forward Mason Blacklock snuck a puck five-hole from in close on Stanwood to round out the scoring.

The Smokies outshot the Eagles 32-28.

With the loss, the Smokies fall three points back of fourth-place Salmon Arm and four back of the third-place West Kelowna Warriors. Tomorrow's game in Merritt just got a heck of a lot more important.

My Three Stars:
1. Brady Shaw, Surrey
2. Brett Mulcahy, Surrey
3. Braeden Jones, Trail

Up Next: The Smokies travel to Merritt in search of their second straight victory against the Centennials. Game time is 7:30.

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