The Cranbrook Bucks ended their preseason Alberta tour Sunday afternoon in an entertaining affair with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers, though the result wasn’t one which the road team had desired.
The Okotoks Oilers came out swinging in the first period, firing 14 shots on Bucks goalie Carter Capton through the first twenty minutes. Despite being vastly outshot, the Bucks managed to keep pace with Okotoks – and they would strike first with a Noah Quinn marker just over three minutes into the game to give Cranbrook a 1-0 lead. The Oilers replied ninety-seconds later via a tally from Carter Matthews to tie the game 1-1. Cranbrook’s Luke Pfoh restored the Bucks’ one-goal lead just past the five-minute barrier to make it a 2-1 game. Okotoks was able to round out first period scoring with two more goals, including a power-play tally, to take a 3-2 lead after the buzzer. The Bucks trailed 14-6 in the shots count following the opening frame.
Second period action began with the Bucks tying the game on an early power play, Pfoh bagged his second goal of the night. Okotoks was able to regain their lead toward the final five minutes of the middle frame, and it was a familiar face to the Canbrook Bucks who did the damage. Former Cranbrook forward Zeth Kindrachuk was able to pot one against his old team to bring his Oilers to a 4-3 lead at 15:53 on the power play. Okotoks added one more goal at the 17:36 marker, Connor Gourley’s second goal of the game put the Oilers in a 5-3 lead heading into third period action.
The game turned into a stalemate of sorts through the first half of the final frame of regulation, neither team budged through the first twelve minutes. The Bucks needed a late push, and they got one from newly recruited blueliner Jack Henry to put the Cranbrook within one goal of the Oilers at 5-4 at 12:36. A late power play proved fortuitous for Cranbrook, Noah Quinn’s second goal of the night lifted the Bucks to a 5-5 tie with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. Overtime was afoot the teams deadlocked at 5-5 after sixty minutes.
The Bucks had designs on an Alberta sweep, but Okotoks had other plans. The Oilers needed just 27 seconds of overtime action to pot the winning goal. Oilers forward Conyr Hellyer was able to break past a Bucks defender on a rush an lifted the puck over Capton to play the role of overtime hero, securing a 6-5 OT win for Okotoks.
The Oilers managed to outshoot Cranbrook 35-27 in Sunday’s preseason matchup. The Bucks return home with a 1-1 preseason record. A double dose of the Trail Smoke Eaters is up next for Cranbrook, the Bucks face the Smokies in Trail Friday, September 16. The two teams meet again in Cranbrook Saturday, September 17.
- Three point night for Noah Quinn (2g,1a)
- Julian Frias adds an assist, point streak at 2 games (2a)
- First preseason loss for Cranbrook since 2020.