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GAME RECAP: Warriors Comeback Bid Falls Short In 7-5 Loss To Smokies

PHOTO: Wayne Moore/Castanet


DECEMBER 29th, 2017

WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors battled hard and came back from a four-goal deficit but couldn’t get a lead as they fell by a 7-5 score to the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday night at Royal LePage Place.

After a pair of power plays to open the game, including a 31 second 5-on-3, did not go the Warriors way, the Smoke Eaters opened the scoring with the lone goal of the first frame as Braeden Tuck gathered a rebound and shot over the shoulder of Warriors netminder Cole Demers to give Trail a 1-0 lead.

The Smoke Eaters didn’t take long to get a two-goal advantage as just 57 seconds into the 2nd period, Ross Armour converted on a centering feed from behind the goal by Kale Howarth and put the Smokies ahead by a 2-0 score.

Ryan Murphy gave the Smoke Eaters a 3-0 advantage on a breakaway at the 7:46 mark of the 2nd period. Murphy picked up the puck in the neutral zone and was stopped on the first attempt of the breakaway but a second effort jammed the puck over the goal line and pushed the Smokies lead to three.

Trail added another goal just under a minute after the Murphy marker as Andre Ghantous pushed the Smoke Eaters lead to 4-0. The puck was centered from Demers’ blocker side to an open Ghantous as he scored at the 8:41 mark of the 2nd period and end the night of Demers as Nik Amundrud came on in relief.

The Warriors responded well to the goaltending switch as the captain Jared Marino converted on a rebound of a Jake Harrison shot at the 10:14 mark of the 2nd frame for his 14th goal of the season and got the Warriors on the scoreboard and made it a 4-1 game.

The comeback was in full force as the 3rd period got going as Jordan Todd cut the deficit to two goals at the 3:40 mark of the final frame. Todd got a pass in the slot from Chase Dubois and had his first shot stopped but buried his own rebound on the glove side of Smoke Eaters goaltender Adam Marcoux for his 3rd goal of the season and made it a 4-2 Trail lead.

The Warriors captain was at it again at the 5:46 mark to make it a one-goal game after converting on a pass from Dubois. The Warriors forward saucered a pass from the right face-off circle across the ice to Marino as he buried his second of the game past the blocker side of Marcoux to cut the Smoke Eaters lead to 4-3.

Jake Harrison capped off a span of three goals in 2:59 with his 7th goal of the season at the 6:39 mark of the 3rd period with a deflection of a Marino pass at the top of the crease and tied the game at 4-4.

After a couple of chances to take their first lead of the game, the Warriors surrendered their fifth goal of the night as Levi Glasman fired a shot over Amundrud from the slot at the 13:17 mark of the 3rd period to give Trail another lead at 5-4.

Braeden Tuck added his second goal of the game on a shorthanded breakaway after Marcoux made a great save on Cavin Tilsley in tight in an effort to tie the game. Tuck brought the puck back the other way and went forehand-backhand past the right pad of Amundrud at the 16:48 mark to make it a 6-4 Smoke Eaters advantage.

The Warriors looked to be on the comeback trail once more as Michael Ryan sniped a shot past the glove side of Marcoux from the right face-off circle on the power play and at the 17:58 mark, it was a one-goal game once again at 6-5.

Kale Howarth found the empty net with one minute to go in the game and iced a 7-5 victory for the Smoke Eaters with a shot from the right face-off circle.

Cole Demers started the game and stopped 15 of the 19 shots he faced before being relieved by Nik Amundrud who turned aside 16 of the 18 shots he saw in the game for his 11th loss of the season. Adam Marcoux picked up his 4th win of the season for the Smoke Eaters with 45 saves on 50 shots in the victory.

FINAL SCORE: 7-5 Smoke Eaters

FINAL SHOTS ON GOAL: 50-41 Warriors

Warriors PP: 1/6

Warriors PK: 1/1

3 Stars:

1) Jared Marino (2-1-3)

2) Braeden Tuck (2-0-2)

3) Chase Dubois (0-2-2)

Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Jordan Todd (1-0-1)

The Warriors (18-16-1-1) embark on a stretch of six games away from Royal LePage Place and complete the home-and-home set against the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday night at Cominco Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the pre-game show getting underway at 6:45 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com with the Voice of the Warriors, Trevor Miller.