The Cranbrook Bucks have won three straight games after defeating the Spruce Kings in Prince George in consecutive nights.
After hanging on for a 3-2 win in a game they were heavily outshot on Friday night, the Bucks earned a 4-1 decision on Saturday.
In similar fashion to the previous two games on the current win-streak, Cranbrook was able to open the scoring and play with the game’s first lead.
The Bucks top offensive line connected once again, and they did it following a strong forecheck and quick puck movement in the attacking zone.
Jack Silich finished the play for his team-leading 16th goal of the season from Noah Quinn and Kellan Hjartarson to give Cranbrook a 1-0 lead at 14:54 of the opening period.
The Bucks would take that one-goal lead into the first intermission after outshooting Prince George 15-11 in the opening 20 minutes.
Just as he did one night prior, Spruce Kings forward Jack Stockfish tied the game at one, this time at 2:31 of the second period from Jake Schneider.
The game wouldn’t stay tied for very long, as Cranbrook forward Jarrod Smith followed Silich’s lead and scored his second goal of the trip to Prince George.
Smith entered the zone late on the power-play and picked the top corner on Prince George goalie Evan Feddema to put the Bucks back up by a goal.
His eighth of the season was assisted by Rhys Bentham and Donovan Frias at 8:37 of the middle frame to make it 2-1 Cranbrook.
On another man-advantage just over a minute later, the Bucks would strike again to extend the lead.
Following a point shot from Jack Henry, fellow defenseman Cam Kungle was able to hammer home the rebound to make it 3-1 Cranbrook.
Kungle’s third of the season from Henry and Cooper Boulanger came at 9:42 of the second, and the Bucks had their first two-goal lead of the weekend — and the first in their last four games.
After outshooting the Spruce Kings 15-10 in the second period, Cranbrook took the 3-1 lead to the intermission.
Prince George applied some pressure in the third and outshot the Bucks 11-6 in the final frame, but the only goal came off a Cranbrook stick into an empty Spruce Kings’ net.
Donovan Frias scored his 10th goal of the season from Nick Peluso at 19:53 to cement the Bucks’ 4-1 victory.
Nathan Airey made 31 saves on 32 shots in the Cranbrook net to earn third star honours.
Airey has now won his last three starts, and he’s improved his record to 11-6-1 on the season with a 2.49 goals-against-average and a .927 save-percentage.
Kungle was named the first star of the game after a night of work that included a power-play goal.
The 20-year-old defenseman now has three goals and 13 assists for 16 points this season — one off his career high of 17 from last year.
Bentham was the second star of the game after an assist brought his season totals to seven goals and 16 helpers to tie his career high of 23 points set last season.
Smith’s second period goal stood as the difference-maker, giving him the game-winning goal in both games on the trip up north.
The Bucks are now 15-8-1 for the season and 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, including three straight victories.
Cranbrook has improved to 9-5-1 on the road so far this season, which is the Interior Conference’s second-best mark away from home, behind only the undefeated Penticton Vees.
After scoring the first goal in each of their last three games, the Bucks are now 10-0-1 when they score first — the second-best record in the BCHL behind Penticton.
They’ll look to continue that trend this upcoming weekend when they host the West Kelowna Warriors on Friday and the Vees on Saturday at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook.
The recap of Saturday night’s win from Cranbrook’s website can be viewed here, and the boxscore from the BCHL website is here.
Game highlights can be viewed below from the Bucks YouTube channel.