The Cranbrook Bucks gritted out an important win Friday night as the playoff picture in the Interior Conference continues to clear up.
The Bucks were able to outlast the West Kelowna Warriors for a 3-1 win in their return to action from the all star break, it was Cranbrook’s third win in as many games versus the Warriors this season.
First period action did not produce much for either side, neither team was able to break the scoreless deadlock in a defence-heavy opening frame. Cranbrook’s Nathan Airey was able to turn aside 11 shots as the two clubs entered second period action with a 0-0 tie intact.
The game began to open up a bit in the second period. Bucks forward Blake Cotton opened the scoring at 2:55 when he tallied on an odd man rush to make it 1-0. A Cam Kungle goal off an unintended deflection in the dying minutes made it a 2-0 Bucks. Cranbrook was able to take their 2-0 lead into the third period.
The Warriors were able to dig into Cranbrook’s lead with a timely power play goal from Michael Salandra at 7:23 to bring West Kelowna to a 2-1 deficit, and they started to apply some more pressure on Airey. However, a Donovan Frias goal at 12:40 was enough to secure the win for Cranbrook while giving his team a 3-1 lead. Cranbrook shifted to a defensive-minded system for the remaining minutes of the final frame to ensure the 3-1 victory, their third win in a row.
Friday’s win grows Cranbrook’s record to 25-10-1, they have the Interior Conference’s second best record and they were able to move to five points ahead of West Kelowna with the victory. The Bucks won the shots battle 28-25.
Cranbrook’s weekend continues Saturday night with the first place Penticton Vees in town.
- Cranbrook leads West Kelowna 3-0 in the season series.
- Nathan Airey’s first start since December 16.
- 2 points for Donovan Frias.