The Cranbrook Bucks capped off exhibition play against its BCHL rival Trail Smoke Eaters with a 6-0 shutout victory on Saturday at the Trail Memorial Centre.
Bucks goalie Nathan Airey stopped 33 shots as Cranbrook tallied goals from six different scorers, including Liam Hansson’s game winner in the first.
Cranbrook opened the scoring after a turnover at the Trail blue line sent Zeth Kindrachuk in on a 2-on-1 with Hansson, who tapped in a cross-crease pass at 7:51 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.
Cranbrook’s record improves to 4-0 in exhibition play with three wins vs the Smoke Eaters and a 3-1 victory over Wenatchee Wild on Friday.
Trail’s exhibition season hasn’t been as successful with a 5-4 shootout loss to Wenatchee on Thursday for a 0-3-0-1 record.
The Bucks went up 2-0 when Nelson native Noah Quinn worked the puck to Nathan Fox behind the net, and Fox fed Tyson Dyck in the slot and he fired a shot past Smokies goalie Cayden Hamming.
Cameron Kungle put the Bucks up 3-0, taking a pass from Brendan Rogers at the point and blasting it by Hamming 16:21 into the middle frame.
Trail outshot Cranbrook 26-15 through two periods, however, the Bucks owned the third period scoring three more goals from Rhys Bentham, Johnny Johnson, and Kellan Hjartarson for the 6-0 final.
Cranbrook outshot the Smoke Eaters 18-7 in the third, with both teams firing 33 shots on goal. But Smokies penalty trouble in the final frame contributed to the loss as Cranbrook went 2-for-8 on the power play and Trail 0-for-5.
The Smoke Eaters and Bucks will face off against the Women’s National Team this coming week with the puck drop at 7 p.m. at the Trail Memorial Centre on Monday, Oct. 4 and at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook on Tuesday, Oct. 5. Tickets are sold out.
The real season starts Oct. 8 with Trail visiting Cranbrook to open the 2021-22 campaign. Trail’s home opener goes the next night, Oct. 9, against the same Bucks at 7 p.m. and the Trail Memorial Centre.