The Cranbrook Bucks’ campaign is underway.
The Herd’s 23/24 season began this weekend on the road in Trail, where they came behind from a 3-1 second period deficit to win 5-4 in OT, Friday, September 22.
The next night, in Vernon, Cranbrook came up short against a tough Vernon Vipers squad, in a special teams’ duel that ended 3-1 Vipers.
On Friday, at Cominco Arena in Trail, Jarrod Smith scored the game winner with three seconds remaining in overtime, to extend Cranbrook’s winning streak over the Smoke Eaters to eight straight, following their 7-0 record over Trail last season.
It took only one minute for Cranbrook to get on the board to start the game, with Noah Urness’s unassisted goal at 59 seconds of the first period. Trail’s Gryphon Bucci scored at the 7:25 of the first to tie the game at 1-1.
Trail scored two more in the second, from Christian Kim and Chase Stefanek. But Cranbrook roared back with three straight, from Oskar Cederqvist at 14:38 of the 2nd, Jaxon Fuder one minute later, and Blake Cotton with one second left in the period.
Adam Barone tied it up t on a screen shot from the point 1:42 into the third to send it to overtime.
Zion Green got his second assist of the game on Smith OT goal at 9:57.
Cranbrook outshot Trail 37-36 and went 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Smoke Eaters went 1-for-5. Danick Leroux was in net for the Bucks, Teagan Kendrick for Trail.
The next night, at Kal Tire Place in Vernon, Special Teams accounted for all the offence for both teams, with all goals coming on powerplays.
Isaac Tremblay opened the scoring at 6:10 of the first, with the Bucks’ Willem Terwoord in the box for charging. Noah Urness had a good chance to tie the game in the first period with a penalty shot, but hit the post. Another penalty shot awarded to Urness in the period was saved by goalie Ethan David.
Bryce Sookro got an unassisted powerplay goal for the Bucks halfway through the second to tie it.
But the Vipers’ two unanswered powerplay goals in the third, from Adam Csabi and Hank Cleaves, sealed the deal for Vernon.
The penalty kill for the Bucks wasn’t bad ended up going 3 for six. The Vipers faced five penalty kills of their own.
Despite the loss, Carter Capton was solid in the Cranbrook goal, stopping 27 of 30 shots. Ethan David stopped 24 -f 25 for the Vipers.
Cranbrook’s road trip continues next weekend, with the Bucks facing West Kelowna on Friday, September 29, and Salmon Arm on Saturday, September 30.
With files from Jim Bailey/Trail Times, and vernonvipers.com