Game Recap: Bucks 5, Warriors 3 (Jan. 23, 2022)

Cranbrook Bucks Photo

The Cranbrook Bucks wrapped up a three-game road trip in West Kelowna on Sunday afternoon, desperately looking for a win before heading back to the Kootenays.

The Bucks went into the Sunday matinee having lost the first two games of the trip in Wenatchee, but were 6-3-1 in their last 10 contests.

The West Kelowna Warriors came into Sunday riding a modest two-game win streak, and were 6-4-0 in their last 10.

The afternoon didn’t get off to a great start for Cranbrook, as forward Jaden Fodchuk was assessed a minor penalty and game misconduct for checking from behind just 3:38 into the contest.

Down a forward, the Bucks were forced to an early penalty kill, allowing a strong West Kelowna powerplay to go to work.

As time wound down on the man-advantage, Warriors forward Chase Dafoe was able to find the back of the net for his 11th goal of the season, putting the home team up 1-0 at 5:31 of the first period.

Just a few minutes later, another Bucks penalty gave West Kelowna a second chance on the powerplay, and they would convert once again.

This time it was forward Cameron Hicklin scoring his first of the season on the PP at 9:57, making it 2-0 Warriors.

Cranbrook seemed to settle down a bit from there, but went into the first intermission down two goals, and being outshot 12-7.

The Bucks looked like a much different team in the second period, getting back to their disciplined, puck-possession game.

Nearing the midway point of the middle frame, a West Kelowna penalty gave Cranbrook an opportunity to get on the board.

Cranbrook’s leading scorer Tyson Dyck scored on the PP at 9:58 of the second period to make it a 2-1 game.

Dyck’s 19th of the season was assisted by Johnny Johnson, and the Bucks were back within a goal.

That would be all the scoring through 40 minutes, as the Bucks outshot West Kelowna 10-6 in the middle frame and looked to carry some of that momentum into the third down a goal.

Cranbrook wouldn’t be able to build off a strong second period before another penalty in the third gave the Warriors a chance to extend the lead.

Despite holding West Kelowna off on the powerplay, the Bucks wouldn’t be able to withstand the momentum drawn from the man-advantage.

Five seconds after the teams went back to even-strength, Warriors forward Tyler Cristall was able to bury a rebound to make it a 3-1 game.

Cristall’s 19th goal of the season at 9:27 appeared to be an insurance marker, as West Kelowna took a two-goal lead into the back half of the final frame.

It wouldn’t be long before the Bucks got some life, however, as Jarrod Smith scored his third goal of the season just past the midway mark of the period.

Smith’s tally at 11:39 was assisted by Cole Assailly, and brought Cranbrook back within a goal at 3-2

Cranbrook then took another penalty and seemed to once again cough up the momentum being built as the minutes ticked down on regulation time.

After killing off the late penalty, the Bucks big guns went to work.

With just 2:22 on the clock, Dyck scored his second of the game to tie it up at three. His 21st of the season was assisted by Assailly and Liam Hansson.

And just when you thought the game was headed for overtime, the Bucks top line went looking for more.

This time Dyck shovelled a backhand pass to Johnson who walked in and slid it home to give Cranbrook its first lead of not only the game — but the entire road trip.

Johnson’s 13th goal of the season from Dyck and Hansson put the Bucks up 4-3 with just 1:02 remaining in the third.

West Kelowna would pull the goalie in the final minute looking to get back on even terms, but it was Cranbrook that would strike to put the game out of reach.

Noah Quinn was credited with the empty net goal for his 15th of the season, assisted by Kellan Hjartarson to make it 5-3 with just 16 seconds left.

The Bucks outshot the Warriors 7-4 and outscored them 4-1 in the final 20 minutes, to steal a win and salvage the last game of the road trip.

The win concluded a 1-2-0 journey away from Western Financial Place, and allowed the Bucks to avoid their first three-game losing streak since early December.

Cranbrook is now 4-3-1 in January, and 3-2-0 against West Kelowna with one game remaining in the season series;

Six games (3-2-0)

The post-game recap from the team’s website can be found here, and from the West Kelowna Warriors here.

The Bucks return home for a pair of games against the league’s top team, the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, on Friday and Saturday.

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