It wasn’t pretty, but the Trail Smoke Eaters celebrated a well-earned road split with the Prince George Spruce Kings on the weekend.
After falling 5-3 on Friday in Prince George, the Smoke Eaters played a gutsy and determined game on Saturday to emerge with an improbable 3-2 victory.
Coalson Wolford scored the game winner at 12:38 of the third period converting a setup from Evan Bushy and Charlie Strobel to give the Smoke Eaters a 3-1 lead.
Trail goalie Evan Fradette faced 33 shots in the victory including a 12-1 Prince George advantage in the first period, when the Spruce Kings took a 1-0 lead 24 seconds in on a tally from Simon Labelle.
Smokies forward Christian Lowe notched his first of the season to tie the game at one at 7:48 of the second period, and Teddy Lagerback made it 2-1 midway through the third to give Trail their first lead of the weekend.
After Wolford made it 3-1, Prince George cut the lead to 3-2 on a tally from John Herrington with 4:34 to play, but the Smokies played stingy defensively in the third to hang on for the victory.
The win improves Trail’s record to 6-4-1-0, while Prince George is at 8-4-0-0. The Spruce Kings outshot Trail 33-13 and were 0-for-6 on the power play, while the Smoke Eaters were 0-for-4.
Fradette earned first star honours, Lagerback second star and the Spruce Kings Nick Rheaume third star.
On Friday, the ice was tilted in the home team’s favour as penalties proved the difference in a 5-3 loss. The Spruce Kings scored four times on nine power play opportunities, while Trail tallied twice on just three.
Trail battled back from a 3-0 first period deficit to tie it at 3-3 on goals from Brady Hunter, Jackson Krill, and Connor Michaud.
However, two late Trail penalties led to power-play goals by Rowan Miller and Rheaume for the 5-3 final.
Trail goalie Bailey Monteith got the start in net and stopped 35 shots on the night, while Aaron Trotter earned the win with 23 saves for P.G.
Trail will host the Merritt Centennials in their next match on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at the Trail Memorial Centre with the puck drop at 7 p.m.