Last week’s schedule presented a great challenge for the Cranbrook Bucks, as they welcomed the BC Hockey League’s top team to Western Financial Place for back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.
The great challenge also presented a great opportunity, and the Bucks played two of their best games all season against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
Despite a 3-0 loss on Friday, Cranbrook greeted the Silverbacks with an outstanding effort in a tightly contested game.
Things then opened up on Saturday as the two teams went the distance in a wild contest, and the Bucks skated away with a 6-5 victory in a shootout.
Here are the Cranbrook Bucks three stars of the week following the back-to-back games against the top-ranked Silverbacks.
First Star — Noah Quinn
The Bucks’ best forward — and possibly their best player — in Friday’s shutout loss was forward Noah Quinn.
He was noticeable creating turnovers in both the offensive zone on the attack, and the defensive zone when Salmon Arm was pressing.
Then on Saturday, another strong night for Quinn culminated with an assist on the game-tying goal that forced overtime, and then ending the game with a shootout goal to seal the win.
Quinn led the team to a pair of strong performances en route to being the Bucks first star of the week!
Second Star — Johnny Johnson
After taking home first star honours last week, forward Johnny Johnson is this week’s second star for his efforts in Cranbrook’s matchups with Salmon Arm.
Johnson continued to be a reliable leader on the ice, and scored a big goal to get the Bucks back within one before setting up Tyson Dyck for the game-tying goal on Saturday.
Third Star — Liam Hansson
Just like Johnson, forward Liam Hansson makes his second straight appearance on the three stars of the week after two stellar contests on the weekend.
Playing on another new-look line on Saturday, Hansson won a battle on the side boards before setting up Kellan Hjartarson to tie the game at 4-4 in the third period.
He then went first in the shootout and scored what turned out to be the game-winner.
Unsung hero of the week
Forward Andrew King is this week’s unsung hero, for his contributions that don’t show up in the boxscore.
King had two of his best games all season over the weekend, despite not finding the scoresheet.
After being bumped up in the lineup and playing on Hjartarson’s left wing, King had a noticeable pace to his game, was hard on the forecheck, and supported the puck in both ends.
He did just about everything other than find the boxscore — although King was the FortisBC Energy Player of the Game on Friday — and is the Bucks unsung hero of the week!
Goaltender Nathan Airey had a pair of good games over the weekend, despite only getting the start in one of them.
Airey stopped 45 of 50 shots in over 112 minutes of action on the weekend, posting a 2.67 goals-against-average and a .900 save-percentage.
The Bucks also had a great weekend from their backend against the Silverbacks in all areas of the ice.
In addition to his assist on Saturday, captain Rhys Bentham gave Quinn a run for his money as Cranbrook’s best skater on Friday.
The Bucks got a goal from Bauer Morrissey, two assists from Quaid Anderson, and a helper from Carsyn Good.
Cranbrook’s third line also had a strong weekend, including two thirds of the line combining for a shorthanded goal.
Zeth Kindrachuk, Jarrod Smith, and Carter Schmidt used their combination of speed, skill, and work ethic to cause problems for the Silverbacks all weekend long.
You didn’t think we’d get through a three stars of the week without mentioning leading scorer Tyson Dyck, did you?
Dyck’s strong play continued over the weekend and he came through when his team needed it most — scoring the game-tying 5-5 goal in Cranbrook’s eventual win over Salmon Arm.
The Bucks are back in action on Wednesday night in Wenatchee, before welcoming the Vernon Vipers to town for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday.