The Cranbrook Bucks (6-5) knew they would be in for a tough challenge Saturday night in Shuswap Lake, and they were up for the task at hand.
The Bucks needed a better showing than what was seen in Friday’s 5-2 loss to Alberni Valley, with Saturday’s opponent coming in the form of the BCHL’s only unbeaten team – the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (10-0-1).
The Bucks were playing with fire in the first period, taking three penalties versus the BCHL’s second-ranked power play unit. However, the road team was able to weather the storm and hold Salmon Arm’s power play off the scoreboard, and the Bucks controlled the play while at even-strength. Late in the first period Cam Kungle found some extra room on the ice on a left wing rush while playing 4-on-4, he put the Bucks in the lead with a well placed wrist shot from just inside the circle. The unbeaten Silverbacks found themselves trailing the Bucks 1-0 after twenty minutes.
The momentum from the late goal from Kungle resonated with the Bucks early in the second period. Cranbrook continued to control the pace of play in the early goings of the middle frame, and their efforts were rewarded with a goal from Johnny Johnson off a redirected shot. Salmon Arm found their legs in the bottom half of the second period, but they failed to tally on any of their thirteen shots in the middle frame. The Bucks were able to fend off some late pressure to take a 2-0 lead into the third period.
Cranbrook put a stamp on a solid effort in the third period. Luke Pfoh’s goal at 2:54 gave Cranbrook a 3-0 lead, and all but deflated Salmon Arm’s hopes of a comeback. Johnny Johnson would tally his second goal of the night late in the final frame to lift Cranbrook to a 4-0 victory.
Saturday’s win improves Cranbrook’s record to 7-5, while Salmon Arm drops to 10-1-1 with their first regulation loss of the season. Cranbrook finished 0/2 on the power play and 7/7 on the penalty kill. Salmon Arm won the shots battle at 34-31, but Evan Gartner had a perfect night in Cranbrook’s crease to preserve his first shutout in his BCHL career.
Cranbrook locks horns with the ‘Backs Sunday afternoon to close their busy weekend. The herd returns to Western Financial Place November 20 to face the Chilliwack Chiefs.
- Saturday’s win was Cranbrook’s second shutout of the season, and the first shutout of Evan Gartner’s BCHL career.
- Bucks forward Johnny Johnson with two goals – his third multi-goal game of the season.
- Bucks forward Tyson Dyck extends point streak to 5 games (3g, 7a).
- Cranbrook’s road record improves to 2-3.