Smokies embrace West K

If the Trail Smoke Eaters could play every game in West Kelowna, they may not lose again all season.

The Smokies made it eight wins in a row at Royal LePage Place Saturday, scoring five times on the power play and once on a penalty shot in an 8-4 thumping of the West Kelowna Warriors.

Rookie Kent Johnson paved the way, scoring three times, including his second of the night on a penalty shot ;late in the second. He also had a pair of helpers.

Trevor Zins had two goals and two assists while Hayden Rowan pitched in with a goal and three assists.

The Warriors, who have now dropped four straight, started like a team on a mission. They dominated the opening five minutes, pinning the Smoke Eaters in their own end for much of those five minutes, and getting the game's opening goal off a one-timer from Willie Reim in the low slot.

They could have had one or two more before things went south. And, went south quickly.

"That was the proverbial 18-wheeler off the cliff tonight. Sometimes that happens...it's not a lack of effort on anyone's part," said head coach Geoff Grimwood.

"Sometimes you have real bad nights, and sometimes you have them two nights in a row, and sometimes you have it when you get back from Christmas and it's exacerbating, because it becomes, what's wrong the the team.

"At the end of the day, we have some work to do and we're going to do it. I believe in this team, and it's going to be fine."

Trail tied it on a power play 14 minutes into the first, and took the lead for good a little more than a minute later when former Warrior Chase Stevenson beat Brock Baier on a breakaway.

The Warriors tried to battle back in the second, twice cutting the deficit to a single goal on tallies from Anthony Bishop on a West Kelowna power play and Brandon Dent, but Johnson's penalty shot marker late in the period seemed to take the steam out of the Warriors sails.

The Smokies put it away with three more goals in the third, all with the man advantage. Bennett Norlin got one back for the Warriors on a power play of their own.

The Warriors will try to bump their latest losing streak Monday when they travel to the coast for a rare early-week game in Coquitlam.

Meantime, Grimwood expects the Warriors to be somewhat busy at the Jan. 10 trade deadline.

The Warriors roster currently sits at 21, two under the league limit, including just 12 forwards.

Grimwood says he hopes to be able to add a couple of forwards by the deadline, but cautions the team does not expect to make any deals that will include moving any of the current players on the roster.

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