In just the second all-time meeting between the two BC Hockey League clubs, the Cranbrook Bucks will host the Powell River Kings at Western Financial Place on Friday night.
The Kings head to Cranbrook on the heels of two losses at the 2022 BCHL Showcase, suffering a 5-1 setback to West Kelowna and a 3-1 loss to Salmon Arm. Powell River has now lost five consecutive contests, failing to win a game since a 5-4 victory on Oct. 1 in Alberni Valley.
The Kings overall record this season is 2-6-1, with both of their wins coming on the road. Powell River owns the league’s third-worst goal-differential at -14, and it’s 40 goal-against is the fourth-most in the BCHL.
Despite some of the other numbers, the Kings are a strong special-teams club, with a 25-percent power-play which ranks third in the Coastal Conference and seventh overall. Their 90.6-percent penalty-kill rating is first in the conference and second in the entire league.
Powell River’s special-teams are even better on the road, with a 31.3% power-play ranking fourth overall, and the league’s best road penalty-kill at 91.7%.
The Kings won the only previous head-to-head matchup in a 5-3 thriller at the 2021 BCHL Showcase.
Cranbrook is now 6-3-0 on the season after splitting its two games at this year’s showcase event. The Bucks picked up a 9-2 blowout win against the Cowichan Capitals before dropping a hard-fought 4-2 decision to the Nanaimo Clippers.
Home ice has been a bit of an advantage for Cranbrook, going 2-1-0 in three contests played at Western Financial Place this season. The Bucks’ special-teams units have also performed better at home, with a 30% power-play in Cranbrook versus a 15% clip on the road. A penalty-kill rating of 81.2% at home is also a slight improvement from 80% as the visitors.
The Bucks rank among the BCHL’s top-five with 35 goals-for, 25 goals-against, and a plus-10 goal-differential though their nine games so far this year.
They are led offensively by captain and defender Rhys Bentham who has three goals and eight assists for 11 points in nine contests. Jack Silich leads the team with seven goals, in addition to his three helpers. Nick Peluso has four goals and four assists, while Kellan Hjartarson has three goals and five assists for eight points each through nine games.
The Kings have relied upon Powell River product Nick Porchetta with four goals and five assists for a team-leading nine points. Anthony Yu has scored five goals and added three assists this season, while Karter McNarland has two goals and six assists.