Game Recap: Quinn, Capton lead Bucks to big win in Trail

📸: Tim Matwey

In the third of four preseason games for both clubs, the Cranbrook Bucks and Trail Smoke Eaters faced-off on Friday night for the first time since they wrapped up last year’s nine-game season series in mid-January.

Cranbrook went 6-3-1 against the Smoke Eaters during the 2021-22 regular season, after sweeping them in three exhibition contests. In the first meeting of this year’s preseason schedule, the Bucks once again proved to be too much for Trail to handle.

Cranbrook’s rookie goalie Carter Capton made his mark early with a sharp save just 30 seconds into the contest, allowing his team a chance to find the scoresheet first.

Playing in his first game with the Bucks since being acquired earlier in the week, Ethan Sundar fired one past Smoke Eaters goalie Cole Tisdale to open the scoring. The lone assist went to Jaxon Fuder and the Bucks led 1-0 just 2:31 into the game.

Trail was quick to answer with a goal of its own off a bad bounce at the side of the net to get one by Capton, but it wouldn’t be long before Cranbrook answered back to regain the lead.

Returning forward Kellan Hjartarson was able to finish off the play, with assists going to Jack Henry and Noah Quinn. It was the third goal in a 1:23 span, and the Bucks led 2-1 just 3:54 into the game.

Those three quick goals accounted for all of the scoring in the opening 20 minutes, and Cranbrook took a one-goal lead into the first intermission.

Trail made some adjustments during the intermission and came out flying in the second period, forcing Capton to be sharp in the Bucks’ net.

The Smoke Eaters were able to get one past Capton to even the game at 2-2, but a strong showing from the young goaltender allowed his team a chance to regain the lead.

Having already assisted on Hjartarson’s goal in the first, Quinn finished a beautiful passing play from Bauer Morrissey and Henry — who also assisted on Hjartarson’s goal.

Quinn’s third goal in three preseason games gave the Bucks a 3-2 lead at the 18-minute mark of the second stanza.

Despite being outshot 11-7 by the Smoke Eaters in that middle frame, Cranbrook once again went into the intermission up by a goal.

Trail had another quick response in the third, getting back on even terms just 14 seconds into the final frame.

The game wouldn’t stay tied for long, however, as the Bucks were able to tally another quick response of their own.

Another pretty passing play from Cranbrook’s offensive attack saw Matt Duarte finish it off to put the Bucks back in front 4-3.

Carter Schmidt and Matteo Speranza drew assists on the go-ahead goal at 3:53 of period three.

About a minute and a half later, Cranbrook would strike again — this time on the powerplay.

Following a face-off win by Quinn, Cooper Boulanger quickly fired a shot short side on Tisdale to extend the Bucks lead to 5-3 at 5:24.

With Cranbrook seemingly taking control of the contest, it would once again take less than two minutes for another add-on goal from the visitors.

Following another offensive zone face-off win by Donovan Frias, Morrissey was able to stick-handle his way through the Trail defence before setting up Julian Frias for a goal to make it 6-3 for the Bucks.

The scoring play at 7:12 of the third read Frias from Morrissey and Frias in the boxscore — although the replay shows Jack Silich coming in from the left wing to help Frias win the face-off before setting up Morrissey.

The game’s scoring would finish the same way it began, with Sundar picking the top corner on another 2-on-1 break at 18:42 to seal a 7-3 win for the Bucks.

Quinn led the way for Cranbrook with his goal and two assists to earn first star honours. He now has three goals and four helpers for seven points in three exhibition games.

Sundar had a strong showing with two goals in his first game with the Bucks, while Henry and Morrissey tallied two assists each.

Boulanger, Schmidt, Fuder, Hjartarson, Duarte, Speranza, and the Frias brothers all chipped in with a single point.

Capton stopped 25 of 28 shots in the game for his first win of the preseason.

The game recap from the Bucks’ website can’t be found here, and the highlights can be viewed below courtesy of their YouTube channel.

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