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Bucks get 3 OT wins in 3 road games

Players also being chosen for all-star game, including by fan vote

The Cranbrook Bucks battled their way through Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland this weekend past, playing three games in three nights. All three went to overtime, all three resulted in victories.

The Bucks criss-crossed the Salish Sea to get their six points, starting in Powell River, where they faced off against the Kings, Friday, Dec. 1.

Danick Leroux, in net for the Bucks, faced the onslaught early, facing 11 shots in the first period from the Kings. Carter Lundie got one past him at 13:34.

Julian Frias evened the score on the power play midway through the second frame — Owen Thomas restored the Kings’ lead, but Donovan Frias tied it up again in the final minutes of the second.

Powell River got 11 shots on goal in each of the three periods. The Bucks got six, 11 and seven shots in the three periods.

And so to overtime. It took Blake Cotton 7:35 to score on Kings goalie Tresor Wotton, seconds after a tripping penalty to the Kings’ Kailus Green expired.

It was then on to the bus to the ferry, and over to Victoria where the Grizzlies were waiting on Saturday.

Eleven seems to be a recurrent theme when it comes to shots on goal. Victoria got off 11 in the first (and 11 in the second) on Braedyn McIntosh, in goal for Cranbrook, but he stood tall. Oliver Auyeung-Ashton also stopped the nine Cranbrook shots he faced in the first.

Anderson Pirtle got Victoria on the board in the second, but Jacob Fletcher tied it up for the Bucks in the third.

The 10 minute overtime remained scoreless. McIntosh stopped seven shots in extra time, Auyeung-Ashton stopped five.

Three skaters aside took part in the deciding shootout. Evan Brown and Jacob Fletcher were stymied on the attempts on Auyeung-Ashton, but Julian Frias scored.

McIntosh faced Oliver Genest, Anderson Pirtle and Charlie Gollob, and stopped them all for the win.

Then on to Surrey, Sunday, Dec. 3.

Neither the Eagles nor the Bucks could get one in the net in the first period, but Surrey’s Arvega Horvsepyan scored on Carter Capton, in net for Cranbrook, in the second period.

Ante Ziomislic made it 2-0 Surrey 45 seconds into the third period, but then the Bucks came roaring back, with goals from Bryce Sookro (on the power play) and Luke Pfoh, to tie the game and send things, once again, to overtime.

This time, the Bucks were Johnny-the-spot, with Bryce Sookro getting the OT winner one minute and 22 second in.

Total shots on goal were 28 for the Bucks, 32 for Surrey.

The Cranbrook Bucks are at home next weekend, hosting the Prince George Spruce Kings on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8 and 9.

The six-point weekend vaults the Bucks past Prince George and Merrit into sixth place in the Interior Conference of the BCHL, and one point behind the Trail Smoke Eaters.

In other Bucks and BCHL news, the league has announced the initial rosters for the 2024 All-Star Tournament Jan. 20 in Penticton on the outdoor rink, after a vote was conducted with coaches and general managers from the 17 BCHL teams.

Each team has one skater represented on the initial roster, plus an additional two goaltenders were voted in from each conference. Donovan Frias will be representing the Bucks.

Last week, the BCHL also launched a Fan Vote to select the remaining seven players for the rosters.

With each team having one skater voted into the game already, there are seven remaining spots for the fans to decide. Fan vote players were also chosen through the same coaches and general managers poll. A total of 17 players, one from each team, are vying for the final seven spots.

Jack Silich is the Bucks’ nominee for the fan vote.

Voting is ongoing, and fans can go to the BCHL website to vote (once a day) —

The rosters will eventually be split into four teams of six skaters and one goaltender and will compete in a 3-on-3 tournament outdoors.

Barry Coulter

About the Author: Barry Coulter

Barry Coulter had been Editor of the Cranbrook Townsman since 1998, and has been part of all those dynamic changes the newspaper industry has gone through over the past 20 years.
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