The Cranbrook Bucks made some noise in the BCHL this weekend, sweeping the previously undefeated Salmon Arm Silverbacks on their home rink Saturday and Sunday.
It was a busy weekend of Junior A hockey for the Herd. The Bucks kicked it off with a Friday night contest against the Alberni Valley Bulldog — the first ever game between the two teams. The Bulldogs are in second place in the Coastal Conference of the BCHL.
Noah Quinn opened the scoring halfway through the first period — his fourth of the season — but unanswered goals from the Bulldogs’ Josh Van Unen and Nicholas Beneteau put the Bucks down 2-1.
The same pair of Bulldogs made it 4-1 in the second, and the Bucks were suddenly behind the 8-ball.
Noah Quinn’s second goal of the game in the third period gave the Bucks a some hope, but Van Unen’s empty net goal at the 18-minute mark put it away.
Nathan Airey stopped 23 of 27 shots for Cranbrook. His opposite number at the other end of the ice, Jackson Glassford stopped 23 of 25.
Friday’s announced attendance at Western Financial Place was 2,350. The Bucks have been attracting well over 2,000 fans each game in the early days of this regular regular season.
After the Bulldogs, the Bucks hit the road to Salmon Arm.
Cranbrook stunned the Silverbacks, Saturday, with a 4-0 victory, handing them their first loss of the season in, again, the first ever meeting between the two teams.
Evan Gartner made 34 saves for the Bucks to record his first BCHL shutout and the team’s second in franchse history.
Cameron Kungle’s goal with 17 seconds left in the first period was the only goal Cranbrook would need Saturday. Johnny Johnson scored twice, giving him a team-leading eight on the year, while Luke Pfoh had the other Bucks marker.
Owen Say made 27 saves for Salmon Arm.
In Sunday’s rematch, Noah Quinn got the Bucks on the board five minutes in, and Tyson Dyck scored his eight of the season nine minutes later. Salmon Arm put on the pressure with 13 shots to Cranbrook’s seven, but Gartner, in net again for the Bucks, stood firm, until Simon Tassey’s goal in the the second made it 2-1.
Evan Gartner stopped 31 of 32 shots. Liam Vanderkooi, in net for the ‘Backs, faced 21 shots on the night.
The Bucks were assigned five penalties to Salmon Arms’ two throughout the game, but the Silverbacks couldn’t beat the Bucks penalty kill, Friday or Saturday.
With the road trip under their belts, the Bucks’ next game is at home in Cranbrook, Saturday, November 20, against the Chilliwack Chiefs, followed by the a visit from Penticton Vees on Sunday, November 21.
The Bucks are now at 8-5, and stand at fourth place in the BCHL’s Interior Conference.
With files from the Salmon Arm Observer and cranbrookbucks.ca