The Trail Smoke Eaters battled from a two-goal deficit to force overtime but fell by a 3-2 score to the Vernon Vipers on Wednesday night at the Trail Memorial Centre.
Jimmy Darby collected his first career BC Hockey League goal in the 2nd period while Chase Stevenson scored in the 3rd period to get the game even and force overtime but Mitch Andres ended the game with his first goal of the season and handing the Smoke Eaters a 3-2 loss in extra time.
Vernon showed no sign of bus legs after a long day of travel and took a 1-0 lead just 1:40 into the opening period of play. Matt Kowalski worked down the right side and chipped a pass to the edge of the right face-off circle for Elan Bar-Lev-Wise as the Viper forward let a wrist shot go underneath of the blocker side of Smoke Eaters netminder Adam Marcoux to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Viper doubled their lead at the 7:49 mark of the 1st period courtesy of a sharp angled shot from Teddy Wooding. Landon Fuller played the puck to center as Wooding chased onto it inside the Trail end of the ice and beat Marcoux with a shot over his shoulders from the right corner for a 2-0 advantage.
The Smoke Eaters and Vipers play much of the 2nd period evenly, with chances being sparingly presented between the two teams that held their defensive zone very well but Trail was able to crack their way onto the scoresheet late in the period and cut the Vernon lead to one-goal heading into the 3rd period.
Max Kryski kept the puck inside the Vernon zone as he made a nice play to get below the goal line and centered a pass through the slot to the point for Jimmy Darby, who slapped home his first career BCHL goal at then 18:37 mark to cut the deficit to 2-1 heading into the final regulation period of play.
Trail battled their way back to tie the game at the 7:45 mark of the 3rd period with Chase Stevenson taking a shot from the right face-off circle that was blocked but got the puck back again and beat Cooper on the blocker side for his 13th goal of the season and tied the game at 2-2, eventually sending the game into overtime.
The Vipers had the most of the possession in the overtime period and off of a won face-off, Mitch Andres made his way to the high slot and snapped a wrist shot over the glove side of Marcoux to conclude the hockey game and give the Vipers a 3-2 win.
Adam Marcoux turned aside 23 of the 26 shots he faced in his 17th loss of the season while Bradley Cooper stopped 22 of the 24 shots for his 4th victory of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Vipers (OT)
SHOTS ON GOAL: 26-24 Vipers
SMOKE EATERS PP: 0/2
SMOKE EATERS PK: 1/1
1) Mitch Andres (1-0-1)
2) Jimmy Darby (1-0-1)
3) Teddy Wooding (1-0-1)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Max Kryski (0-1-1)
The Smoke Eaters (12-17-5-2) open a weekend home-and-home set with the Penticton Vees (20-10-1-2) beginning at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Friday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the pre-game show getting underway at 6:50 PM on mixlr.com/trail-smoke-eaters as well as HockeyTV.com with the Voice of the Smoke Eaters, Trevor Miller.