It wasn't the start the Prince George Spruce Kings were looking for in their 41st home opener.
The Spruce Kings (2-0-0-1) blew a two-goal lead Friday at the Coliseum and fell 4-3 in the first five-minute overtime period to the Trail Smoke Eaters (1-2-0-0) when captain Garrett McMullen's second goal of the game, a floater beat Kings goaltender Liam McLeod.
It was the first B.C. Hockey League game for McLeod who faced 24 Smoke Eaters shots.
The Kings out shot the Smoke Eaters 28-24 but didn't outplay last season's basement dwellers much to the dismay of the 1,236 fans who took in the Kings first home game.
Trail, who snapped a 17-game losing streak dating back to Feb. 3 of last season with the win, was 0-7 against Prince George last season.
The Spruce Kings failed to score on seven power play attempts including late in the second period when the Smoke Eaters killed off three consecutive penalties that continued into the final frame.
The best players for the Kings on the night was the line centred by Chad Staley with Jeremiah Luedtke and affiliate player Justin Rai. But it was the Kings fourth line that started the scoring.
Bryant Christian opened the scoring with his first goal as a Spruce King late in the first period after taking a pass from right-winger Jeremiah Luedtke and beating the Trail goaltender with a wrap around for a 1-0 lead. Prince George took a 2-0 lead when Coltyn Hansen fed a perfect pass to Cam Lawson during a two-on-one after Stanwood had committed with Lawson easily putting it in the empty side of the net just beating the buzzer to signal intermission.
The late goal didn't faze the Smoke Eaters as they came out hard out-shooting the Kings 8-4 in the first 10 minutes of the second period but could only find the twine behind McLeod once. Trail was pressing when the puck took a Smoker Eaters' bounce in the Kings' crease right onto the stick of captain Garrett McMullen to cut his team's deficit in half at 2-1.
But 65 seconds later Kings affiliate player Rai restored the two-goal advantage taking a pass from Staley for the 3-1 lead. The 18-year-old was in the Kings' lineup due to injuries to forwards Tanner Fjellstrom (sprained ankle) and Sean Landrey (day to day) and showed the hustle of a player who doesn't want to return to his junior B club, the Richmond Sockeyes of the Pacific International Junior Hockey league.
The Smoke Eaters ran into penalty trouble late in the second frame with three consecutive trips to the sin bin - two for checks to the head which also included 10-minute misconducts - but despite ending the period with a five-on-three the Spruce Kings couldn't capitalize.
After killing off the reminder of the penalties against them early in the third period the Smoke Eaters were rewarded when Tanner Clarkson scored his first goal of the season. The Kings 3-2 lead held up after they failed to score on their sixth power play of the night. Prince George did put the puck in the net but the goal was waved off by referee Jim Storey after he lost sight of the puck.
Trail tied the game at 3-3 with under eight minutes to play when Paulsen went coast to coast and beating McLeod.
The Kings return to action tonight when the 2012 RBC Cup champion Penticton Vees pay their first visit to the Coliseum since the Spruce Kings ended their record winning streak last March. The Vees beat the West Kelowna Warriors 4-3 in double overtime on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.
Trail Smoke Eaters 4 Prince George Spruce Kings 3 OT
1. Prince George Bryant Christian 1 (Luedtke) 15:25
2. Prince George Cam Lawson 2 (Hansen, Ryan) 19:59
Penalties: Johnson TR (cross checking) 4:49; Lawson PG (hooking) 8:11.
3. Trail Garret McMullen 2 (Davidson, Alexander) 6:44
4. Prince George Justin Rai 1 (Staley, Esau) 7:49
Penalties: Pacheco PG (slashing) 9:57; Wheeldon TR (cross checking) 17:49; Johnson TR (check to head, 10-minute misconduct) 18:09; McMullen TR (check to head, 10-minute misconduct - minor served by Brandon Egli) 19:07.
5. Trail Tanner Clarkson 1 (Poulsen, Berkholtz) 2:35
6. Trail Shane Poulsen 3 12:03
Penalties: Poulsen TR (tripping) 2:49; Luedtke PG (roughing) 9:45; Too many men (served by Tyler Berkholtz) 17:05,
Overtime 1 (4-on-4):
7. Trail Garrett McMullen 3 (Williams) 3:56
Trail 5 9 8 2 24
Prince George 10 10 7 1 28
Goaltenders: Trail Lyndon Stanwood Prince George Liam McLeod
Power plays: Trail 0/3 Prince George 0/7