Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Trail's smoke show stifles Spruce Kings

So much for the revenge factor.

So much for the revenge factor.

After giving up a two-goal lead in the third period and losing to the Trail Smoke Eaters on home ice Friday, the Prince George Spruce Kings had payback in mind Sunday afternoon when the Smokies returned to the Coliseum.

But in this season of frustration, nothing has come easily for the Spruce Kings and the Smoke Eaters had the last laugh, responding with three unanswered goals Sunday to end their four-game roadtrip with a 5-2 win.

Dylan Tappe scored the go-ahead goal, 1:09 into the second period, followed by last-minute goals in the third period from Cullen Bradshaw, his second of the game, and Paul Mailey.

The loss left the Kings (6-19-0-2) just one point in front of the last-overall Quesnel Millionaires, who have three games in hand over Prince George. Winners of eight of their last 10 games, the Smoke Eaters (18-8-0-1) solidified their hold on first place in the BCHL Interior Conference, five points ahead of Salmon Arm.

Despite four full minutes of power-play time in the third period, the Kings failed to get the puck past rookie goalie Matt Larose, who made 43 saves to earn his fifth BCHL win.

"Our effort was there, it's just we had some breakdowns at the very end," said Kings defenceman Trevor Esau. "We had some chances to get some goals and we didn't, and the score doesn't show the kind of effort we put in. We just weren't getting any bounces and just got unfortunate at the very end when they got those two last goals."

Eric Walker also scored for Trail. Justin Fillion and Connor Tiechko notched the Spruce Kings' goals.

The already short-staffed Smoke Eaters lost a key player, 12:10 into the game, when 19-year-old defenceman Rajan Sidhu was sent crashing headfirst into the end boards as a result of a cross-check from Kings ' left-winger Brendon Fornwald. The impact left Sidhu unconscious and the game was delayed for 15 minutes until he was taken off on a stretcher. The initial diagnosis was Sidhu received a severe concussion but did not suffer any apparent spinal damage.

"It was really tough to see Rajan go down like that, all the guys on the team are real tight and it was a tough loss, but we found out he was OK," said Bradshaw. "We had a 12-hour bus trip and we wanted it to be a good bus trip so we all came together and got the 'W.'

"We didn't want to go into the last minute with only a one-goal lead. Being all tense, you never know what can happen, so getting that insurance goal was huge."

Fornwald received a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct and will also face a league suspension.

"Plays like that, you never want to see that," said Mailey. "(Fornwald) didn't crunch him hard, it was just a little tap, but it was the way he went into the boards. From that distance it's always dangerous."

Trail was missing three regulars -- Jake Baker, Beau Blanaru and Logan Proulx -- with shoulder injuries and had two of their top offensive threats -- Travis St. Denis and Sam Mellor -- playing for Canada West in the World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Penticton.

n Prince George minor hockey product Chris Albee scored the winner late in the first period -- his first in the BCHL -- to give the Millionaires a 2-1 win Saturday over Trail. Kirby Halcrow made 36 saves in the Mills' nets.