The Cranbrook Bucks took both ends of a home and home versus the Trail Smoke Eaters on the weekend.
The Bucks Donovan Frias netted the game winner in a 3-1 victory on Friday night in Trail, and then, eerily reminiscent of the exhibition season, Cranbrook skated to a 6-0 shut out victory on Saturday at home.
Close to 1,800 fans enjoyed the Smoke Eaters home opener, Friday, with a ceremonial puck drop from owners Annie and Rich Murphy, while honouring Orange Shirt Day and the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
The teams traded chances in the first period, until a punishing hit from Trail’s Judah Makway layed out Bucks’ player, Jack Henry, who had to be carried off on a stretcher. Henry, apparently, was shaken up but sustained no serious injuries.
Bucks forward Jarrod Smith opened the scoring with just under four minutes to play in the first, beating Trail goalie Teagan Kendrick glove side on a drop pass from Kellan Hjartarson.
Lake Forest, Ill. product Nic Remissong tied the game on the power play with 3:58 left in the second period, netting his third of the season on a slick passing play from Trey Fechko and Quinn Disher.
Kendrick was solid in the Trail net stopping 14 shots in the second period to keep the game tied heading to the final frame.
Trail had their chances but couldn’t convert. Cranbrook, however, got a good bounce off the post on Frias’ game winning goal at 11:21 of the third period, then Nelson native Noah Quinn tallied the insurance marker just 17 seconds later to lift the Bucks to a 3-1 victory.
Cranbrook outshot Trail 30-27 and went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Trail was 1-for-3.
Trail product Makway earned Energy Player of the Game, and Quinn earned first star honours, with Remissong second star, and the Bucks Bauer Morrissey third star.
In the second half of the home and home on Saturday in Cranbrook, Trail came out and dominated the first period outshooting the Bucks 12-6 but found themselves down 1-0.
The Bucks turned the tide in the second with Jack Silich and Nick Peluso scoring for a 3-0 lead, as the home team outshot the Smoke Eaters 20-7.
Cranbrook added three more in the third on goals from Rhys Bentham, Hjartarson, and Jaxon Fuder for the 6-0 final.
The Bucks outshot the Smoke Eaters 37-26, going 2-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 4-for-4 on the PK.
Trail has struggled offensively against the Bucks in the early going, losing its two Exhibition games against Cranbrook by scores of 7-3 and 5-0. With the recent losses, Trail’s record goes to 1-3-0-0 while Cranbrook improves to 3-1-0-0 this season.
Trail hosts the Wenatchee Wild on Friday, Oct. 7 and the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday, Oct. 8 with the puck drop at 7 p.m. at the Trail Memorial Centre.