The Cranbrook Bucks dropped a 7-1 tilt to the Penticton Vees at Western Financial Place on Sunday. Trevor Crawley photo.

Bucks suffer two losses in weekend BCHL action

It was a tough weekend for the Cranbrook Bucks, which came out of a two-game home set with a pair of losses against the Trail Smoke Eaters and Penticton Vees.

Sunday’s matinee affair at Western Financial Place was a difficult matchup against one of the top teams in the BCHL, as the Vees skated away with a 7-1 victory.

The Vees have some strong NHL bloodlines with F Jackson Nieuwendyk and D Joshua Niedermayer — yes, the son of Scott Niedermayer — featured in the roster.

Nidermayer picked up an assist on the game’s opening goal, as Finlay Williams put the Vees ahead halfway through the opening frame. However, Jarrod Smith tied up the score less than a minute later, ending the first period tied at 1-1.

That would do it for scoring from the Bucks, as Penticton scored six unanswered over the next 40 minutes on the road to victory. Goals came from Luc Wilson, Ryan Hopkins and Casey McDonald in the second period, while Josh Nadeau, Frank Djurasevic and Thomas Pichette tallied in the third.

Bucks netminder Evan Gartner made 31 saves in defeat, while Penticton stopper Kaeden Lane made 29 saves for the win.

The Vees went two-for-six on the powerplay, while the Bucks were shut out during three opportunities with the man-advantage.

Saturday’s game against the Trail Smoke Eaters had a much closer result, as the Bucks fell just shy at 4-3 in overtime.

The game was originally scheduled to be a tilt against the Chilliwack Chiefs, however, massive flooding in the Lower Mainland forced the BCHL to tweak operations by postponing some games and rescheduling others.

Coalson Wolford sealed the game for the Smokies with five seconds left in the extra frame.

The Bucks were nearly two minutes away from taking the win but Zach Michaelis scored his second of the night in the final 90 seconds of the game to even it up for Trail.

It was a back-and-forth night, as both teams traded the lead during the contest.

Luke Pfoh opened the scoring on the powerplay, giving the Bucks an early lead after the opening period. Michaelis and Corey Cunningham tallied for the the Smokies in the second frame, as Trail took the lead.

Noah Quinn and Kellan Hjartartson evened it up, and took the lead, respectively, for the Bucks in the third frame, before Michaelis sent the game to overtime.

Bucks goaltender Nathan Airey made 30 saves in defeat, while Smokies netminder Evan Fradette turned aside 33 shots for the win.

Following weekend results, Cranbrook sits in sixth place in the Interior Conference.

The Bucks are scheduled to hit the road and face off against two Vancouver Island teams next weekend, however, Abbotsford-area flooding may yet cause further travel disruptions.

BUCKS NOTES: Bucks F Noah Quinn will be heading to NCAA hockey following his junior career, as he announced his commitment to Bemidji State University. Quinn, who hails from Nelson, is a key cog in the Bucks offence, with 7G and 8A in 14GP this season. Bucks F Tyson Dyck was named the October High School Player of the Month, which is awarded to players 18 years of age or younger who are attending high school full time, and recognizes both on-ice and academic performance. Dyck, 17, averaged a point-per-game for the Bucks in October, while also earning several grades of 95 per cent or higher in classes such as chemistry, social studies, English and math.