A Wild third period sinks Trail Smoke Eaters

The Wenatchee Wild scored five third period goals for a big comeback win over the Trail Smoke Eaters

The Wenatchee Wild came back from a 3-2 third-period deficit to beat the Trail Smoke Eaters 7-4 on Wednesday at the Town Toyota Centre in Wenatchee.

With the score tied 4-4, the Wild’s Josh Arnold netted the winner midway through the third period when he stole the puck on the forecheck and jammed it past Smokies goalie Tanner Marshall for a 5-4 Wild lead.

As a result, Trail’s 20th win remains elusive, with the Smoke Eaters suffering its sixth straight loss, and injuries and absences continuing to leave a big hole in the Smoke Eaters line up.

Trail jumped out to an early lead when Tyler Ghirardosi tallied his ninth of the season muscling a puck past Wild goalie Austin Park 7:47 into the first period.

Ryan Murphy made it 2-0 Smokies on the power play at 9:36, banging in a rebound on a Trevor Zins point shot.

The Wild struck back in the second when Nathan Iannone and Daniel Chladek scored just nine seconds apart to tie it, but Trail’s Levi Glasman restored the Smoke Eater lead with his 14th of the season on the power play at 12:35.

The Red Deer native netted his first BCHL hat trick against the Wild in their last meeting, a 7-5 Smoke Eater victory on Nov. 1.

See related story: Trail wins Wild one over Wenatchee

So Glasman’s return from the Team Canada West selection camp in time for Wednesday’s game was a welcome one. With Smoke Eaters veteran forwards Blaine Caton, Braedon Tuck, and Kale Howarth still sidelined, and leading scorer Ross Armour and d-man Seth Barton off to Nova Scotia after being named to the Team Canada West on Wednesday, the Smoke Eaters were in dire need of Glasman’s scoring touch.

(Armour and Barton will play an exhibition game against Russia today as a lead up to the World Junior A Challenge starting Sunday in Truro, N.S. and running until Dec. 16.)

Trail held the 3-2 advantage heading into the third period despite being outshot 34-15 through two. But it didn’t take the Wild long to reply as Lucas Sowder tied it just 42 seconds into the final frame beating Marshall on a low hard shot from the slot, and A.J. Vanderbeck blasted a point shot past Marshall for a 4-3 Wenatchee lead at 15:13.

However, Trail answered 21 seconds later when Levi Glasman deflected a Ghirardosi wrister past the Wild’s backup goalie, Seth Eisele, to tie at 4-4.

But after Arnold put Wenatchee up 5-4, Trail forward Ryan Moon was sent off for a hit-from-behind, and Slava Demin scored on the ensuing power play to make it 6-4. Murphy Stratton scored into an empty net with 1:58 remaining to ice it for the Wild.

Wenatchee outshot the Smoke Eaters 58-25, and went 2-for-8 on the power play, while Trail was 2-for-4. Glasman led the Smokies with two goals, Ghirardosi had a goal and an assist, and Troy Ring and Carter Jones each counted two helpers. The Wild’s Cooper Zech had three assists and Stratton finished with a goal and three assists

At 19-10-2-0 Trail remains in fourth place in the Interior Division three points behind 20-8-2-1 Wenatchee, and seven back of the first place Vernon Vipers.

The Smoke Eaters next game goes in West Kelowna on Saturday, and Trail returns to the Cominco Arena on Tuesday to host the Merritt Centennials at 7 p.m.

Smoke Signals: According to reports on the The Trail Smoke Eaters website, the team released goalie Brandon Wells and signed 19-year-old Adam Marcoux from the Cowichan Valley Capitals. The Calgary native is a six-foot-two, 180-pound netminder who played in 23 games with the Capitals this year, posting a 4.58 goals-against-average, and a .888 save percentage for a struggling Cowichan team that has just four wins this season.

The Smoke Eaters also made it official signing former Beaver Valley Nitehawks forward Blake Sidoni last week, and 18-year-old forward Mack Byers of Long Lake, Minn. The five-foot-11, 170-pound Byers played for the Philadelphia Rebels of the North American Hockey League and is a product of the Minnesota Blades 18U team where he netted 40 points in 20 games in the 2016-17 season.