The Trail Smoke Eaters ended the first half of the season with some holiday cheer, winning their sixth straight game.
The Smoke Eaters beat the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 6-3 at the Trail Memorial Centre, Saturday, after holding off the Merritt Centennials in a 5-4 match up on Friday.
Smoke Eaters forward Nic Remissong scored the game winning goal at 9:03 of the second period tallying his 11th goal and 21st point of the season on the power play. Silverbacks goalie Carter Richardson stopped an Ethan Mann shot but couldn’t handle the rebound as Remissong, a Lake Forest, Ill. product, fired it in for a 4-3 lead.
The weekend wins over the Interior Conference rivals lifts the 14-11-1-2 Smoke Eaters into a tie for fifth place, just eight points behind second place Cranbrook Bucks, who have won seven straight.
Trail jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the first period, with Adam Parsons tipping a Jordan Hendry shot from the point for a power play goal 2:55 into the opening frame for a 1-0 lead.
Ridge Dawson made it 2-0 just 17 seconds later, firing a shot from the high slot that eluded Richardson.
Silverbacks defenceman Lynden Handvold cut the lead in half, scoring his first goal of the season at 13:18. However, Trail answered five seconds later on a set play. Trail’s Adam Seeley won the centre-ice face off, and defenceman Evan Bushy fired a shot off the back board of the Silverbacks end. A streaking Rhett Hamilton beat the ‘Backs d-man to the puck and the Bonnington native one-timed a shot top shelf for a 3-1 Smokies lead.
Smokies goalie Keagan Maddocks stopped ‘Backs forward Jayden Greer drive to the net, but Jules Boilard picked up the rebound and disposed of it in the back of the net with 5:19 remaining in the period.
Hayden Stavroff tied it for the Silverbacks 5:40 into the second, but Remissong’s goal put the Smoke Eaters back in front for good.
Dawson set up Brady Hunter for an insurance marker with eight minutes left in the game, and Mann scored into an empty net with 1:38 remaining for the 6-3 final. Trail played strong defensively in the third allowing eight shots, and Maddocks was solid in the final 40 minutes for his second straight win.
Trail outshot Salmon Arm 30-26 and went 2-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Dawson was named the game’s first star, Parsons second star, and Silverbacks Grier third star.
On Friday, Smoke Eaters forward Trey Fechko scored the game winner with 4:40 left in regulation for a 5-4 victory over the Merritt Centennials.
Trail dominated early and led 4-1 on goals from Fechko, Mann, Ethan Warrener and Hamilton with his first of the season.
The Centennials battled back with goals from Connor Farren, Christian Lowe, and Jaxson Murray to tie it, before Fechko netted his ninth of the season for the victory.
Trail goalie Teagan Kendrick faced 27 shots and Merritt’s Merik Erickson 44.
Fechko earned the game’s first star, Merritt’s Jaxson Murray second star and Trail d-man Warrener the third star.
Smoke Eaters head coach and GM Tim Fragle says the team will look to add a player or two before the Jan. 10 trade deadline.
“We definitely want to get to 23 (players), because we have 22 guys now, so we want to add a roster player and we also have two other moves,” said Fragle. “So depending on injuries, we were talking about adding an older veteran defenceman to our mix, preferably a 19-year-old, or maybe a 20-year-old forward. We’re still looking to better our team, for sure.”
The Smoke Eaters will enjoy a holiday break and return to action on Dec. 30 and 31 for a home and home versus their Kootenay rival, the Cranbrook Bucks.