After a long, long, long road trip through the Okanagan, the Cranbrook Bucks returned to the comfortable environs of Western Financial Place for two games against the Wenatchee Wild, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27.
The Bucks ended up splitting the homestand with the Washingtonians, winning comfortably on Friday night, but dropping a close one on Saturday.
On Friday — also “Pink the Rink” night in support of anti-bullying — the Wild got off to a quick 2-0 lead on the strength of goals by Parker Murray and Brett Oberle (the latter on the power play). Kellan Hjartarson got the Bucks on the board, and so the first period ended 2-1.
The Bucks exploded offensively in the second, with four unanswered goals by Declan Ride, Cameron Kungle, Like Pfoh and Tyson Dyck ( his 26th). Pfoh and Dyck scored their goals 15 seconds apart from each other.
The teams traded goals in the third — Owen Bohn for the Wild, and Liam Hansson’s empty-netter to seal the deal.
Both teams registered 34 shots on net (including Hansson’s goal). Nathan Airey, in net for the Bucks, out duelled his counterpart with the Wild, making 31 saves to Tyler Shea’s 28.
The announced attendance at Western Financial Place on Friday was 2,355.
The Bucks had themselves a bit of a thing with penalties during the rematch Saturday, with three unanswered calls against them. Ean Somoza capitalized for the Wild on one of these power plays, but Liam Hansson answered back for the Bucks a few minutes later, for a 1-1 first period.
In the second frame, Kellan Hjartarson’s 18th of the season (on a Cranbrook power play) gave the Bucks a 2-1 lead, but the Wild took over the scoring in the third, with Somoza’s second and a power play goal by Quinn Emerson, and Wenatchee earned their split.
Wenatchee outshot Cranbrook 32-30. Evan Gartner made 29 saves for the Bucks, Andy Vlaha made 28 for the Wild. The Bucks tallied on 1 of 4 power play chances, their penalty kill finished 4/6.
The announced attendance at Western Financial Place on Saturday was 2,372.
With the weekend games, Cranbrook now stands at 23-18-2-2, hanging on to fifth place in the Interior Conference of the BCHL, one point ahead of the sixth place Vernon Vipers. The Bucks have clinched a playoff spot, set to begin in April.
The Herd’s next game is Thursday, in Cranbrook against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.