The Cranbrook Bucks have finished their first “real” regular season in the BCHL, and they finished with a victory over the Wenatchee Wild, Saturday night at Western Financial Place.
The Herd, having finished the season in fifth place of the Interior Conference, will now face the fourth place Prince George Spruce Kings in the first round of the play-offs.
The Bucks started off the game in record-breaking fashion, scoring their first goal (courtesy Brendan Rogers) in the first 20 seconds of the first period, another 30 seconds later (Johnny Johnson) and a third at the 2:47 mark (Carter Schmidt). Wenatchee took a time-out, and got themselves on track.
The Wild can be forgiven for starting out a little subdued Saturday. The night before, in Trail, the game between the Wenatchee and Smoke Eaters was cancelled after Wild defenceman Connor Overson collapsed on the ice in the first period, suffering a medical emergency. He was taken to hospital in Trail, and both teams agreed to cancel the remainder of the game.
Overson was later discharged from hospital, and is expected to make a full recovery.
Nonetheless, the first period came to a close, 3-0 Bucks. The Wild players gathered around goaltender Tyler Shea at the horn, tapping him on the pads and showing support, and when the second period got underway, the team had got it together.
In the second, the Wild were still unable to beat Nathan Airey, in goal for the Bucks, getting only five shots on net, as the Bucks settled into defensive mode.
But the Wild came on strong in the third, firing 17 shots on Airey — to the Bucks seven on Shea — but Airey stayed solid. Tyson Dyck picked up another goal for the Bucks, his 34th, and the 2021-22 regular season came to and end for both teams, with the final score 4-0.
The Bucks finished the season with a 29-20-2-3 record.
The Bucks will now face the Spruce Kings, starting Friday, April 1, in Prince George, while the seventh place Wild take on the second place Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
The announced attendance at Western Financial Place on Saturday for the final regular season game was 2,343.