The Trail Smoke Eaters had a great start on Friday, beating Merritt Centennials 5-1, before falling to the undefeated Penticton Vees 9-3 on Saturday.
The Smoke Eaters announced the acquisition of goalie Keegan Haddocks from the Winnipeg Ice on Thursday, after goalie Cole Tisdale was put on the 30-day IR list due to an injury sustained against the Nanaimo Clippers Oct. 19.
And nothing like a trial by fire as Haddocks made his first start against the Vees.
The Vees currently sit on top of the Interior Conference with 28 points in 14 games, while 4-8-1-0 Merritt is in eigth place with nine points 13 games into the 2022-23 season.
Trail’s Connor Seely opened the scoring at 6:51, but Penticton scored twice in eight seconds with goals from Bradly Nadeau and Aydar Suniev for a 2-1 lead heading to the second period.
Smoke Eaters forward Brady Hunter tied the game 11 minutes into the second period, but the Vees Josh Nadeau, Ryan Hopkins and Thomas Pichette all scored to put the Vees up 5-2 at the end of 40 minutes.
The Vees continued to put on pressure, with Billy Norcross and Beanie Richter making it 7-2.
Smokies forward Ridge Dawson then tallied his first of the season while shorthanded on a breakaway goal with 4:32 to play.
Pichette and Suniev completed the scoring in the final minutes, with Suniev notching his fifth point of the night (2G,3A) for the 9-2 final.
Penticton outshot Trail 44-30 with the Vees going 3-for-4 on the power play, while the Smoke Eaters had no power play opportunities.
On Friday versus Merritt, Trail defenceman Ethan Willoughby scored the game winning goal 12:48 into the first period to give the Smoke Eaters a 2-0 lead on their way to a 5-1 victory.
The weekend split leaves the Smokies at 6-6-1-0 and tied for sixth in the Interior Conference with Vernon Vipers.
Smokies defenceman Brady Smith tallied his first of the season on a power play to open the scoring. Nick Remissong spotted Smith gliding into the slot and fed a perfect pass for the Prince Albert native.
The second period was all goaltending as the Centennials outshot Trail 20-16, but Smokies goalie Teagan Kendrick could not be beat, and took the 2-0 lead into the third.
The Centennials Jaxon Murray scored on a breakaway at 1:53 of the third period to make it 2-1, but Adam Parsons finished a pretty passing play from Josh Schenk and Adam Marshall to restore the two goal lead at 11:16.
Trey Fechko and Seeley each scored an empty net goal to make it a 5-1 final.
Trail outshot Merritt 55-42 and were 1-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Kendrick earned the game’s first star, Smith second star, and Adam Parsons the third star.
Trail is on the road this weekend with a trip to the Island for games versus Alberni Valley on Friday, Cowichan Saturday, and Victoria on Sunday.