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Game 3 comeback bid falls short, Bucks trail series 3-0

The Cranbrook Bucks are on the brink of elimination in the first round of the BCHL playoffs after taking a 3-2 loss in game three Tuesday night versus the West Kelowna Warriors.

The Warriors got the jump on the Bucks in the first period with three goals in quick succession. West Kelowna’s Felix Caron converted on a rush deep in Cranbrook territory to go up 1-0 at 7:31. The Warriors pushed their lead to 2-0 via a Callum Hughes goal just twenty-two seconds later. The lead grew to 3-0 when Caron tallied his second goal of the game off a one-time blast on a 5-on-3 power play. Cranbrook was in rough shape at intermission at a 3-0 deficit, but they still had plenty of gas in the tank.

Cranbrook’s skaters came to life in the second period. After multiple attempts, the Bucks finally cracked West Kelowna’s defense with a Jaden Fodchuk goal at 4:49 to narrow the Warriors’ lead to 3-1. The Bucks continued to press through the second period, but Matthew DellaRusso shot the door in the Warriors crease. Cranbrook trailed 3-1 after forty minutes.

The Bucks continued to up the pressure in the third period. An early goal from Kaslo Ferner pulled Cranbrook to within one goal at 3-2, giving the Bucks a fighting chance to force overtime. In the dying seconds, it appeared Noah Urness had the tying goal on his stick, but a last gasp save from DellaRusso denied him and secured a 3-2 loss for the Bucks.

Cranbrook trails the series 3-0 after Tuesday’s loss, the Warriors outshot Cranbrook 41-38. On special teams, the Bucks went 0/3 on the power play and 2/3 on the penalty kill.

The Bucks find themselves down 3-0 in round one and face a must-win situation for game four Wednesday night, a loss will signal the end of their run in the 2024 playoffs.

Buck Tracks

  • Jarrod Smith returns to lineup, first game since January 12.
  • Carter Capton stops 23 of 23 shots in relief of Braedyn McIntosh.

– Article includes photo from Trevor Crawley