It took the Cranbrook Bucks a half period to get on the board, but not for lack of trying.
The Herd came out with hitting on their minds in Thursday night’s tilt against the Merritt Centennials, in BCHL action March 10 at Western Financial Place.
But the Centennials took what the Bucks were giving out, for a while kept the hard-charging home team away from the front of the net with good defensive play in their own zone. Merritt even managed the first goal, when Levi Carter got past Cranbrook’s defense and in front of goaltender Nathan Airey, to score at the eight-minute mark.
But shortly afterwards, the Bucks found their offensive groove. Johnny Johnson scored from the slot on Merritt’s John Hicks, and a few minutes later, Carter Schmidt got the breakaway and made it 2-1 with his first marker with the Bucks.
Cranbrook outshot the beleaguered Centennials 22-5 in the second period. But Hicks kept Merritt in it with save after save.
The Centennials finally broke under the Bucks onslaught in the third period. Tyson Dyck, Zeth Kindrachuk, Kellan Hjartarson and Hayden Gelbard found the back of the net, and the first game of the Cranbrook-Merritt double-header ended 6-1.
The two teams return to the ice on Friday, March 11, at Western Financial Place.
Cranbrook’ now stands at 26-19-2-2. The Bucks went 1/3 on the power play, and 1/1 on the penality kill. Cranbrook outshot Merritt at 54-18.
Announced attendance at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook was