Smoke Eaters forward Ridge Dawson lays out a Centennial player in action on Wednesday night at the Trail Memorial Centre. Photo: Jim Bailey

Smoke Eaters forward Ridge Dawson lays out a Centennial player in action on Wednesday night at the Trail Memorial Centre. Photo: Jim Bailey

Trail Smoke Eaters hold on for win over Merritt Centennials

Solid goaltending kept the Centennials close in a 2-1 loss to the Trail Smoke Eaters

The Trail Smoke Eaters won their fifth game in six starts with a close 2-1 victory over the Merritt Centennials on Wednesday night at the Trail Memorial Centre.

The Smoke Eaters had won three straight prior to their split in Prince George this past weekend.

Meanwhile, the 0-11 Cents were a team hungry for a win, and they almost turned the tables on the hometown Smoke Eaters.

Centennials goalie Keegan Maddocks kept Merritt in the game, and makes a save here off of Smokies forward Ridge Dawson.

Centennials goalie Keegan Maddocks kept Merritt in the game, and makes a save here off of Smokies forward Ridge Dawson.

Trail defenceman Cameron Moger sniped the game winner, taking a pass in the high slot and wristing a shot over the blocker of goalie Keegan Maddocks for a 2-0 Trail lead at 5:59 of the second period.

Trail dominated the match throughout, outshooting the Cents 43-25, but great goaltending from Maddocks kept the Merritt side relevant.

Zack Michaelis opened the scoring at 8:46 of the first period, when Corey Cunningham faked a shot and passed to Michaelis for a back door tally.

Trail had numerous chances including a breakaway by Lagerback in the second, followed up by a 2-on-0, when Maddocks stymied Josh Schenk on the doorstep.

Centennial forward Jerzy Orchard cut the lead in half, sneaking a puck past Evan Fradette to make it 2-1 with 4:42 remaining.

However, the Smoke Eaters shut down the Cents through the late going and held on for the 2-1 victory.

The victory improves the Smoke Eaters record to 7-4-1-0, while Merritt is winless in 12 games.

Trail faces two of the hottest teams in the Coastal Conference this weekend, hosting the 7-3-2-0 Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Saturday night at 7 p.m. before facing the 8-4-0-0 Victoria Grizzlies on Sunday at 3 p.m.