The Cranbrook Bucks split weekend games at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack against Powell River and Cowichan Valley. Photo courtesy

The Cranbrook Bucks split weekend games at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack against Powell River and Cowichan Valley. Photo courtesy

Bucks split weekend games at BCHL Showcase

Cranbrook falls 3-2 to Powell River, but earns victory against Cowichan Valley

The Cranbrook Bucks made their BCHL showcase debut in Chilliwack this weekend past, splitting their two games and continuing their .500 play in the new 2021-22 regular season.

The Bucks faced the Powell River Kings Friday, Oct. 22, falling 5-3. They got the win over the Cowichan Valley Capitals Saturday, Oct. 23, eking out a 5-4 victory.

All 18 BCHL teams congregated in Chilliwack for the annual showcase, Oct. 20-24, playing two regular-season games each in front of fans and scouts from the NHL, NCAA and other levels of hockey.

On Friday, Karter McNarland scored short-handed for Powell River at 10:40; Jarrod Smith tied it up for the Bucks on the same power play.

The Kings’ Mark D’Agostino scored at the 14-minute mark to make it 2-1.

In the second period, Bucks forward Walker Gelbard made it 2-2. Johnny Johnson gave Cranbrook a short-lived lead to start the third, but the Kings roared back with three unanswered goals, in including another two from Karter McNarland for the hat trick (his third was on the empty net).

The Bucks trend of outshooting their opponents continued in Chilliwack.

Cranbrook outshot Powell River 35-21. Nathan Airey made 16 saves on 20 shots for the Bucks. His opposite number, Zak Brice, made 32 saves for the Kings. It was the first ever BCHL game between the two franchises.

Bucks captain Rhys Bentham and defenceman Cam Kungle were not on the ice Friday, still serving their two-game suspensions. They will be able to return on October 30 versus the Nanaimo Clippers.

Zeth Kindrachuk, the Bucks’ leading scorer from last season (the Pod season), returned from injury to make his first appearence of the season on Friday.

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On Saturday, Oct. 23, the Bucks got off to a two-goal lead against Cowichan Valley, with Noah Leibl’s 5-on-3 power play goal halfway into the first period (his first of the , and Luke Pfoh’s first of the season in the dying seconds of the first.

The Capitals poured it on in the second, with three goals from Sam Schofield, Griffin Wilson and Adam Jeffery, with Cranbrook’sKellan Hjartarson answering back with his third goal of the season.

Johnny Johnson’s two power play goals in the third was the difference, though Adam Jeffery’s goal made it close. The Bucks were able to hold off the Capitals the rest of the way, with Evan Gartner making his first start for Cranbrook.

The Bucks outshot Cowichan Valley 34-21.

Quaid Anderson left the game after sustaining an injury in a third period collision with Capitals forward Ronan Walsh. Walsh was issued a 5-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.

The Bucks’ next game is October 30 at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook — a first-time meeting with the Nanaimo Clippers.