After enduring a difficult five-game stretch that saw them go 1-3-1 to close the month of February, the Cranbrook Bucks righted the ship when they opened March on the road.
The Bucks travelled to West Kelowna to play the Warriors last Friday night and earned a convincing 7-1 victory at Royal LePage Place. The win improved Cranbrook’s record to 4-0-0 this season against their Interior Conference rivals from West Kelowna — and 8-2-0 all-time against the Warriors.
Noah Quinn and Kellan Hjartarson paced the Bucks with a goal and two assists for three points each in the win. Blake Cotton, Cam Kungle, Nick Peluso, and Bauer Morrissey each had two-point nights, and Morrissey also received his first career fighting major following a big body check in the third period.
Cranbrook outshot West Kelowna 51-14 in the game and Nathan Airey made 13 saves for his 21st win of the season.
The Bucks then headed to Salmon Arm to play the Silverbacks on Saturday — one week after the ‘Backs handed Cranbrook its first home-ice regulation loss in over three months.
Jack Silich opened the scoring and then scored the lone goal through four shootout rounds as the Bucks got their revenge with a 4-3 shootout win in Salmon Arm. Cotton added two more goals for his second straight multi-point game, while Airey made another 29 saves to earn his second straight win.
When the BC Hockey League released its three stars of the week, both Cotton and Quinn received honourable mentions after collecting four points each through the two-game road trip.
Cranbrook is now set to host the Surrey Eagles and Langley Rivermen on Friday and Saturday in a pair of late-season cross-conference matchups.
Surrey currently sits second in the Coastal Conference with a record of 31-13-3 through 47 games, while Langley is eighth at 13-29-5. The Eagles own a road record of 13-9-2, while the Rivermen are 4-18-2 away from home.
The Bucks are the second-best home team in the BCHL with a record of 18-3-1 in games played at Western Financial Place. Their overall record on the season is 32-13-3, which is good enough for second in the Interior and third in the league.
After this weekend’s home games, Cranbrook will have just four games left during the regular season — two at home and two on the road.
The Bucks have locked up second in the Interior as well as home ice advantage in the 2023 BCHL Playoffs, which start on March 31.