One night after topping the Brooks Bandits to open their preseason schedule on Saturday, the Cranbrook Bucks played another thriller on Sunday afternoon against the Okotoks Oilers to wrap up their two-game Alberta road trip.
Cranbrook wasn’t able to find the same form as its near-perfect road effort against the top team in the country on the previous night, but the Bucks did manage another good start in the offensive affair.
It didn’t take long on Sunday for one of Cranbrook’s top retuning players to make his presence felt.
In a similar fashion to what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from the skilled forward, Noah Quinn shifted his way around the Oilers’ defense before firing a shot top corner to open the scoring.
The goal, assisted by defender Jack Henry, put the Bucks up 1-0 at 3:14 of the first period.
Okotoks was able to tally a quick response to tie the game up 1-1 at the 4:44 mark, but it wouldn’t be long before another returnee put Cranbrook back in front.
After a two-point night in Brooks on Saturday, forward Luke Pfoh wasted no time getting back on the scoresheet.
His goal at 5:37 of the first, assisted by Kellan Hjartarson, gave the Bucks a 2-1 lead.
Cranbrook would surrender a couple of Oilers’ tallies before the end of the period to head into the intermission trailing by a goal.
After being outscored and heavily outshot in the opening 20 minutes, the Bucks looked to set the tone for the second period by getting off to a strong start.
Before the second stanza was five minutes old, a repeat offender lit the lamp for a second time.
At the 4:07 mark of the period, Pfoh tallied a powerplay marker for his second of the game and fourth point of the preseason.
The goal was assisted by Cooper Boulanger, and Quinn — his second point of the night — to tie the game 3-3.
Before the end of the middle frame, former Buck Zeth Kindrachuk found the back of the net to put the Oilers up 4-3, and they would add another to take a two-goal lead into the second intermission.
Down by a pair of goals entering the third period, Cranbrook was pressing as it tried to get back on even terms.
Okotoks was able to hold the Bucks off for most of the period, but a new recruit on the blueline was able to make his presence felt approaching the 13-minute mark of the frame.
Out of a seemingly broken play, the puck squirted up the middle of the ice to Henry, who fired a laser into the top corner to get Cranbrook back within a goal.
It was Henry’s first goal of the preseason and second point of the night, with Julian Frias picking up his second assist of exhibition play, making it 5-4 Okotoks with 7:24 to go.
With momentum back on the Bucks side, they were hungry for an equalizer — and another key veteran came through again on the powerplay.
Having already notched a goal and an assist in the game, Quinn finished a pretty passing play on the man-advantage to tie the game.
Hjartarson and Boulanger drew assists on the tally that made it 5-5 with 2:05 to go.
Quinn’s equalizer sent the game to overtime, where the Oilers promptly found a winner in the 3-on-3 showcase to take the game after all.
Quinn led the way for the Bucks with a three-point night, while Pfoh’s two-goal effort gives him four points in the preseason.
A two-assist night for Boulanger now leaves him third on the team in preseason scoring with three points, while Henry and Hjartarson each had a nice two-point showing on Sunday as well.
Frias was the lone Buck to register a single point, while Carter Capton made 29 saves on 35 shots in the overtime loss.
The game highlights can be viewed below courtesy of Cranbrook’s YouTube page.