An outstanding season for the Cranbrook Bucks ended on Saturday night when they suffered a 3-2 overtime defeat in game six of their best-of-seven first round series against the Prince George Spruce Kings.
The Bucks never trailed in game six, taking leads of 1-0 and 2-1, only to have Prince George pull even each time and eventually tally the sudden-death game-winner.
Despite never leading before the overtime winner, the Spruce Kings outplayed Cranbrook for much of the night, holding a 50-30 shots advantage at the conclusion of the contest.
Bucks goalie Nathan Airey was the game’s first star making 47 saves in over 73 minutes of action — giving his team a chance to win a game that they struggled to stay in at times.
Cranbrook got a pair of powerplay goals in the contest from Declan Ride and Tyson Dyck. Ride scored his first BCHL playoff goal en route to being the game’s third star, while Dyck scored his team-leading fourth of the playoffs.
Prince George forward Rowan Miller was the second star of the night, tallying both the game-tying goal and the clincher in overtime.
The Bucks first-full BCHL season came to an end in front of 3,002 fans at Western Financial Place — putting a bow on a sensational debut season in Cranbrook.
After finishing second in the league with an average attendance of 2,114 fans during the regular season, Saturday’s mark left the Bucks second with 2,185 in the playoffs.
The 3,002 fans that attended game six were the fourth-most at a BCHL game this season — and the most at a game not played in Penticton.
Cranbrook’s outstanding fan support pushed the Bucks to a 29-20-2-3 record and a fifth-place finish in the Interior Conderence during the regular season.
They then went 2-3-1 in the playoffs and pushed the defending champion Spruce Kings to overtime in game six before seeing a spectacular campaign come to an end.
A sensational season for the Bucks and an outstanding showing from Cranbrook is over — but it provided a glimpse of things to come for the BCHL’s newest franchise.