Trail forward Zach Michaelis led the Smoke Eaters to a shootout victory over the Vernon Vipers on Friday, but the hometown team fell hard to the Penticton Vees on Saturday.
Michaelis scored three on Friday night including the shootout clinching goal for a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Vipers at home.
The 19-year-old Minnesota native is on a tear, scoring six goals and 13 points in his last five games; Michaelis leads the Smoke Eaters in scoring along with Brady Hunter with 28 points.
After the five-minute overtime period solved nothing, Teddy Lagerback made a slick move on Vipers goalie Roan Clarke to give Trail the lead. Smokies goalie Evan Fradette was outstanding again and stoned Vernon shooter Matthew Culling on Vernon’s first try.
Michaelis then skated in and sniped a shot past the blocker of Clarke to go up 2-0, and Fradette stymied the Vipers’ second shooter Luke Pakulak for the victory.
The win was a satisfying one on Drop the Gloves and Sock it To ‘Em Night at the Cominco Arena, where fans were invited to throw toques, gloves and socks onto the ice after Trail’s first goal.
That came on a Michaelis shot from the right circle 7:35 into the second period to tie the game at 1-1.
Seven minutes later, Michaelis gave Trail a 2-1 lead with a power play goal, on a low shot through traffic that eluded Clarke. However, Culling tied it with 1:34 remaining in the middle frame.
Vernon dominated the third, but the Smokies defence weathered the storm, including a game-saving play late in the third by defenceman Jordan Hendry. The Trail veteran dove to break up a 2-on-0 and redirect the puck toward Fradette, who then stopped it on the goal line, and ultimately force overtime and the shootout winner for Trail.
Vernon outshot Trail 39-33 and were 0-for-2 on the power play, while Trail went 1-for-1.
On Saturday versus the Vees, the Smoke Eaters led 2-0 after one and were tied 3-3 after two periods, before Penticton erupted with three unanswered third-period goals in a 6-3 victory.
Evan Bushy and Brady Hunter gave Trail a 2-0 first period lead, but Casey McDonald and Ryan Hopkins replied for Penticton, before Michaeils scored to make it 3-2.
The Vees tied it before the period was out, and Vees forward Spencer Smith scored the game winner 2:19 into the third, with insurance coming from Finlay Williams and an empty netter by Brett Moravec.
Penticton outshot Trail 46-22 with the Smoke Eaters going 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the PK.
With the win, the 19-2-0-1 Penticton Vees lead the Interior Conference, two points ahead of Salmon Arm, while Trail sits in fifth place with a 12-8-0-0 record.
Trail next plays a home-and-home with the Cranbrook Bucks, with the game in Trail at the Cominco Arena on Friday at 7 p.m. and in Cranbrook on Saturday.