Warriors trim Smokies: Video

Max French tapped home the game winning goal with 1:06 left in double overtime Saturday giving the Westside Warriors a thrilling 5-4 victory over the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters before nearly 1,000 fans at Royal LePage Place.

Quinn Gould skated the puck into the offensive zone during the three-on-three overtime period and waited along the right side boards until French came free.

His rinkwide pass was tapped in by French who had positioned himself near the far post.

"It was a great pass. I just yelled at his that I was going to the front of the net and he put it right on my tape," says French of the winning goal.

"It was easy, I just kind of swung at it and it managed to go five-hole I guess. It was a great pass by Gould.

Just moments before that, Warriors netminder Kevin Boyle kept the Warriors in the hunt for the extra point when he stopped Paul Mailey on a clean cut breakaway.

The Warriors controlled a majority of the play over the opening 20 minutes, outshooting Trail 19-3 but were unable to score as the teams skated to the locked room knotted at zero.

Matt Maher eventually got the Warriors on the board ripping a wrist shot from the top of the slot on a power-play midway through the second. The shot beat Kiefer Smiley high blocker side.

The Smokies got that one back 71 seconds later when Cullen Bradshaw took a perfect breakaway pass from Eric Walked and slid a backhand between Boyle's pads.

Travis St. Denis scored his first of thee on the night beating Boyle top shelf on a penalty shot before the end of the second period.

The flood gates finally opened in the third as the teams traded goals.

Tyler French, Tyler Krause and Grayson Downing with the game tying goal scored for the Warriors.

Krause scored one of the strangest goals of the season.

He won the faceoff to the left of Smiley but instead of drawing it back to his defenceman he attempted a shot on goal which somehow eluded the Smokies netminder.

"Tyler is a very cerebral player," says Warriors coach Darren Yopyk.

"He works on lots of things and he thinks about plays. It's a good play, he works on that sometimes. It's a once in a lifetime thing but it's a great play and hats off to him."


"It's one of those games where it's a little bit like Muhammad Ali and I think Trail did a real good job of a little 'Rope A Dope' for a while," adds Yopyk.

"We made some mistakes and they capitalized on this mistakes. Overall I thought we played pretty well. Anytime you outshoot a team 53-30 you have to be pretty happy with that."

The Warriors were nearly perfect against the Smoke Eaters over the regular season allowing Trail just the single point in six meetings.

With the teams on a collision course for a possible first round playoff match-up, French says the Smokies seemed to be bringing more of a physical game Saturday.

"We had played them five times this season and got the better of them so they definitely wanted some revenge on us.

"It's kind of fun to get pumped to play these guys. We're used to them and it was definitely a fun, grinding game."

The Warriors are five points in back of the fourth place Smoke Eaters with three games in hand.

Westside make up one of those games in hand Wednesday when they host the Merritt Centennials for the sixth and final time this regular season.

The Warriors have yet to beat Merritt in five previous meetings.

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