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Smokies Shade Vipers Again
Thursday, December 6, 2012 - Submitted by Don Klepp
The Trail Smoke Eaters, who've made a habit of comeback victories this season, did it once again in the lone BCHL game on Thursday, defeating Vernon 2-1 in overtime.
The last time the two teams met in Vernon, on November 9, Braden Pears scored the 2-1 winner in double overtime.
This time, Garrett McMullen was the OT hero, directing a perfect feed from Pears past Austin Smith 13 seconds into the second overtime period while the teams went three-on-three.
McMullen had been instrumental in tying the game at 4:29 of the second period, stealing the puck from Ryan Renz and dishing to Brent Baltus for a one-timer while playing short handed.
Baltus now leads the BCHL with 21 goals.
Vernon's leading scorer, Adam Tambellini, had opened the scoring at 9:32 of the first period after he and Colton Sparrow had set up Pearce Eviston for a tap-in that Lyndon Stanwood alertly stopped. The puck came back to Tambellini, who promptly buried his18thof the season.
Stanwood and Vernon's Austin Smith were nearly unbeatable in goal. Stanwood stopped 35 of 36 Viper shots and Smith blocked 36 of 38 directed by the Smoke Eaters.
The diminutive Trail goalie left Braedan Russell shaking his head several times in the contest. Russell played on Vernon's most dangerous line with Liam Board and newcomer Dexter Dancs.
Trail's best line, as is often the case, featured Baltus, McMullen, and Scott Davidson. They saw a lot of ice time as the Smokies had six regulars out of the lineup with injury. Four affiliate players were dressed, but Bill Birks used them sparingly, especially in the second and third periods when the Smokies were the better team.
Smith, the game's second star, robbed Baltus and Connor Collett in the third period to keep the game tied.
Vernon nearly won the contest with 19 seconds left in regulation when Adam Tambellini's low screamer beat Stanwood but came straight back off Stanwood's right goal post.