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Game 5 Recap: Bucks Lose Late in PG

Photo Credit: Vicki Brown

So close, but so far. The Cranbrook Bucks appeared to have victory in their sights in Prince George Thursday night, but a pair of quick Spruce Kings goals late in game five spoiled a great effort from the Bucks – who fell 3-2 on the road and now trail their first-round series 3-2.

The first period was played tentatively by both sides, neither wanting to make a crucial first mistake to cough up the opening goal. Both teams traded power play chances, neither side was able to convert. Prince George outshot Cranbrook 11-8, and the score remained 0-0 heading into the second period.

The Spruce Kings were able to strike first in the second period. A miscue at the Cranbrook blueline led to a Luc Laylin breakaway goal to give Prince George an early 1-0 lead. Prince George continued to pile on pressure through the second period, but the Bucks were able to survive and advance. The Bucks’ power play unit clicked twice in the final five minutes, goals from Tyson Dyck and Kellan Hjartarson gave Cranbrook a 2-1 lead after forty minutes.

It seemed that the Bucks were well on their way to victory for game five, but Prince George had other plans. The Spruce Kings power play had been held off the board in their first three attempts, but fourth time was a charm. Nick Rheaume managed to quickly tally off a Prince George faceoff win in the Cranbrook zone to tie the game 2-2 at 15:58. Overtime was looming in the Caribou capital, but heartbreak was about to set in for the Bucks. A frenzy formed in front of Nathan Airey off a Spruce Kings rush, and a bouncing puck eventually landed on the stick of Simon Labelle who slipped the disc past Airey with only 1:20 remaining in the final frame to give the home team a 3-2 lead. Cranbrook pushed in the final minute, but couldn’t beat Aaron Trotter for the tying goal.

Prince George’s 3-2 win in game five on Thursday gives them a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, they have a chance to move on to the second round if they can win game six in Cranbrook on Saturday.

Buck Tracks

  • Kellan Hjartarson scores first career BCHL playoff goal.
  • Bucks power play finishes 2/3.
  • Tyson Dyck scores 3rd goal of the series, leads team with 4 points through 5 games.