Brand new weekend in a brand new regular season, and the Cranbrook Bucks of the BCHL faced a brand new opponent Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15 and 16, at Western Financial Place.
The Bucks met the West Kootenay Warriors for a first-ever regular season match-up at a two-game homestand in Cranbrook, ending up with a split.
The Bucks started off strong on Friday, with Noah Quinn opening the scoring, and the Bucks dominating the first period with 17 shots to seven.
But the Warriors held off the Bucks the rest of the way. Halfway through the second period Zach Reim tied the game for West Kelowna. Five minutes later, the Warriors exploded for three goals in under 30 seconds — a team record. Alex Van Houtte-Cachero made it 2-1 West Kelowna at the 16:23 mark of the second; Elan Bar Lev Wise scored only 13 seconds after the line change; and Tyler Cristall made it 4-1, with another line, only 16 seconds after that.
Johnny Derrick was in goal for West Kelowna, stopping 36 of 37 shots. Nathan Airey stopped 37 of 41 for Cranbrook.
Eight minor penalties were called in total, five of those on the Bucks.
Announced attendance at Western Financial Place was 2,221.
The Bucks got their revenge Saturday night, with a 3-2 victory over the Warriors, on the strength of dominant second period by the Bucks.
Elan Bar Lev Wise opened scoring for West Kelowna in the dying second of a Bucks penalty — his third goal in three nights.
But Cranbrook took over in the second, with two goals from Kellan Hjartason (his first and second of the season), including a short-handed effort to give the Bucks the lead. Tyson Dyck also scored on an odd-man rush at 17:50 of the second, his third goal of the season.
Alex Van Houtte-Cachero scored for West Kelowna a minute in the third period, and the Warriors poured it on, but the Bucks and goaltender Nathan Airey withstood the pressure to come away with the win.
The Bucks outshot the Warriors 41-33. Justin Katz was in goal for the Warriors. Airey stopped 31 of 33 shots for Cranbrook.
Saturday night was a rougher affair, with both teams taking five penalties. At game’s end tow players from each team got in a fight, may result in further discipline from the league.
Announced attendance Saturday night at Western Financial Place was 2,215.
The Cranbrook Bucks are now at .500 with two wins, two losses on the season so far. They stand at 7th place in the Interior Conference of the BCHL.
With files from westkelownawarriors.ca