PHOTO: Tami Quan
CRANBROOK, B.C. – Jack Pridham scored a game-tying goal in the 3rd period but it was the Cranbrook Bucks who won in overtime by a 2-1 score on Friday night at Western Financial Place.
A scoreless opening period did not register much offense between the two sides as the period served as more of a feeling out process with the two squads. Simon Houge came inches away from scoring his third goal in as many games as he walked down the left side of the ice and in the left face-off circle that hit the post on the blocker side of Bucks netminder Carter Capton and stayed out to keep the game 0-0.
Rorke Applebee had a solid opening period as well in the Warriors, turning nine shots away in the opening 20 minutes, similar as Capton with his 9 stops, as the game remained tied into the 2nd period.
It was the Bucks who would find iron in the 2nd period with Patrick Murphy ringing the crossbar on the blocker side of Applebee from the slot before the Warriors had a couple of good opportunities to break the ice, including a Caden Kemkaran-Humble breakaway as he battled a pair of stick checks to get to the net where Capton made another save, one of his 19 through two periods, to keep the game scoreless.
That 0-0 tie did not last long after those chances as Cranbrook drew first blood on a re-direction in front of the net that saw Blake Cotton find the back of the net. Malachi Freh took a shot from the top of the right face-off circle that Cotton got a piece of to force off of Applebee and into the goal at the 17: 11 mark of the 2nd period to give the Bucks a 1-0 advantage.
West Kelowna fought back in the final period of regulation and got the game on even terms with Jack Pridham tallying his 15th goal of the season to level the score at 1-1. On a delayed penalty, Pridham took a feed from below the goal line where Trent Wilson set him up in the left face-off circle and sniped a shot over the blocker shoulder of Capton at the 12:09 mark of the period to tie the game 1-1.
Each team has their chances to get a victory in regulation but both of Applebee and Capton stood tall to keep the game going for force overtime, where the Warriors headed for a league-leading 13th time this season.
Similarly to the end of regulation, both teams had the opportunity to win the game but it came down to the dying moments as the Bucks would get the final goal to win the game. Jacob Fletcher gathered a loose puck in the offensive end and walked to the middle of the ice before snapping a shot over the blocker shoulder of Applebee to seal the win with 16 seconds remaining in overtime.
Rorke Applebee turned aside 22 of the 24 shots thrown his way in his 4th overtime loss of the season while Carter Capton continued his hot stretch of play against the Warriors, turning away 36 of the 37 shots he faced in his 6th win of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 2-1 Bucks (OT)
SHOTS ON GOAL: 37-24 Warriors
WARRIORS PP: 0/1
WARRIORS PK: 2/2
1) Jacob Fletcher (1-0-1)
2) Carter Capton (36 saves on 37 shots)
3) Blake Cotton (1-0-1)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Nick Capasso (0-0-0)
The Warriors (24-8-7-0) travel to the West Kootenays for a matchup against the Trail Smoke Eaters (19-14-6-0) on Saturday night. Puck drop from Cominco Arena is set for 7:00 PM with the game broadcasted live on AM 1150 as well as streamed online on FloHockey.