The Trail Smoke Eaters played a hard, physical game and got rewarded for their strong efforts with a 4-1 victory over the Coquitlam Express on Friday night at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre.
Chase Dafoe collected his first career BCHL goal as the Smoke Eaters earned their 12th victory of the season with Owen Ozar, Kent Johnson and Michael Hodge chipping in on the offence as well with 20-year-old netminder Adam Marcoux making 30 saves in the win.
The Smoke Eaters didn’t take long to get the scoring going as it took just 1:21 into the game to give the visitors the lead. Carter Jones started the rush, passing off to the right side for Owen Ozar as the forward snapped a shot from the right face-off circle and beat Express netminder Clay Stevenson for his 5th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead for Trail.
That would stand as the only goal of the opening period with Adam Marcoux turning aside each of the five shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes. Clay Stevenson saw a bit more action in the 1st period, making 9 saves on 10 shots with the Smoke Eaters leading by a goal.
Kent Johnson was quick to get on the scoresheet in the middle stanza, picking up his 11th goal of the season to double the Smoke Eaters lead just 15 seconds into the frame. Diarmad DiMurro let a shot go from the left point that was stopped by Stevenson with the rebound being put past the blocker side by Johnson to give the Smoke Eaters a 2-0 advantage in the early stages of the period.
The Smoke Eaters would extend that lead even further late in the frame as Michael Hodge pushed the lead to 3-0. Tyler Ghirardosi started the play form his own zone, chipping the puck past the defence and rushing down the right wing before sliding a pass in front for a rushing Hodge for his 5th goal of the season and a three-goal Smoke Eaters lead at the 17:53 mark of the middle stanza.
Trail would increased their lead further thanks to the first BC Hockey League goal of Chase Dafoe’s career at the 5:42 mark of the final period. Jones created a 2-on-1 down the right wing and centered a pass to Dafoe driving to the net as he chipped the puck past the blocker side and helped the Smoke Eaters to a 4-0 advantage.
Coquitlam broke the shutout at the 7:45 mark of the 3rd period with Hunter Alden receiving a pass from below the goal line from Cole Edgerton that would put the Express on the scoresheet and be the only blemish on an otherwise perfect night from Adam Marcoux in goal.
Marcoux turned aside 30 of the 31 shots he faced in the game for his 10th win of the season in a terrific effort between the pipes while Clay Stevenson stopped 23 of the 27 shots thrown his way in his 7th loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 4-1 Smoke Eaters
SHOTS ON GOAL: 31-27 Express
SMOKE EATERS PP: 0/6
SMOKE EATERS PK: 3/3
1) Kent Johnson (1-0-1)
2) Owen Ozar (1-0-1)
3) Pito Walton (0-0-0)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Connor Gregga (0-0-0)
The Smoke Eaters (12-15-4-2) continue their three-game Mainland Division road trip as they take on the Langley Rivermen (15-15-1-0) for the second time this season. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM from the George Preston Arena with the pre-game show getting underway at 6:50 PM on mixlr.com/trail-smoke-eaters as well as HockeyTV.com with the Voice of the Smoke Eaters, Trevor Miller.