Hjartarson, Pfoh, Henry shine in the Bucks three stars of the week

📸: Dale Fletcher / Cranbrook Bucks

The Cranbrook Bucks opened their second full BC Hockey League season on the road this past weekend, visiting a couple of Interior Conference rivals.

The trip started with a season-opening 5-2 win over the Merritt Centennials on Friday, before suffering a 7-1 loss to the Penticton Vees on Saturday.

Opening weekend allowed an opportunity to see the combination of returning players and new recruits in regular season action for the first time.

Here’s a look at who stood out in the Bucks’ first week of the season — including the three stars, an unsung hero, and some honourable mentions.

First Star — Kellan Hjartarson

Back for his second season in Cranbrook, Hjartarson had an excellent start to his campaign.

It began in the hours leading up to opening night, when the 19-year-old from Calgary, AB was announced as one of the team’s alternate captains. He responded by scoring a goal and adding an assist for a two-point night on Friday in Merritt.

Although Hjartarson was held pointless by the Vees on Saturday, he initiated Cranbrook’s lone scoring play on the night by winning an offensive zone face-off. In addition to his production and offensive prowess, Hjartarson led by example and stood out all weekend to earn first star of the week honours.

Second Star — Luke Pfoh

After an outstanding season as a 16-year-old rookie last year, Pfoh started his second BCHL campaign the way we probably all expected he would.

The product of Port Moody, BC, showed his elite skill by scoring a goal in each of the Bucks’ contests on opening weekend.

Third Star — Jack Henry

Speaking of elite skill — how about Henry’s early season showing from the back end? The 2004-born defender from Skaneatles, NY picked up a pair of points on Friday night in Merritt.

In addition to putting up points, Henry’s skillset stood out in all three zones. He used his skating ability and soft hands to defend as well as he created offense — all while resembling the likes of Cale Makar in the process.

Unsung Hero — Donovan Frias

In addition to earning an assist as a direct result of his hard work on Friday, Frias was noticeable in all three zones.

Taking face-offs, going to the dirty areas, using his 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame to his advantage — the 18-year-old forward from Hudson, MA was a force all over the ice, all weekend long.

Honourable Mentions

Veteran defender Bauer Morrissey showed his experience over the weekend. The 20-year-old from Skaneatles collected an assist in both games, while using his skillset and calming influence to slow the game down and make plays for his team.

18-year-old forward Jarrod Smith had a solid weekend himself, scoring a goal on Friday and demonstrating a strong 200-foot game.

Jack Silich scored his first BCHL goal on the powerplay on Friday, and the feisty 19-year-old forward from Long Grove, IL also stood out for his work ethic throughout opening weekend.

The Bucks are back in action this weekend with a home-and-home against the Trail Smoke Eaters. They will play in Trail’s home opener on Friday, before inviting the Smoke Eaters to Western Financial Place for their own home opener on Saturday.

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