The Cranbrook Bucks stepped on the ice for their first-ever game in the BCHL this past weekend, nearly a full year since the announcement that Cranbrook would be joining the league as its newest franchise.

Playing their first of nine exhibition games against the Trail Smoke Eaters the rest of October and into November, both teams have launched their rivalry with the Kootenay Cup. This past weekend’s game and their next game this coming Saturday are just tune-up games for an unofficial seven-game series between the two clubs. For early bragging rights, the Kootenay Cup is spicing up what would otherwise just have been nine pre-season games between the two teams.

In their first-ever game in the BCHL, the Bucks stumbled 7-4 at Trail’s Cominco Arena on Saturday.

Trailing 3-nothing early in the second, Cranbrook got back-to-back power-play goals from Zeth Kindrachuk and Dane Dowiak to cut the Smoke Eaters’ lead, but Trail would take a 4-2 lead into third with another goal of their own. Both Walker Gelbard and Noah Quinn scored in the final frame, but the Smoke Eaters scored three more goals to claim the 7-4 victory.

Between the pipes, Jacob Zacharewicz stopped 25 of 32 shots in the loss for the Bucks, while Cranbrook outshot Trail 44-32 in the defeat. Both Noahs led the Bucks as Noah Quinn (1G, 1A) and Noah Liebl (2A) were the team leaders in the defeat.

The Bucks and Smoke Eaters clash yet again in Trail this Saturday, before the Kootenay Cup’s unofficial seven-game series opens October 16th and 17th back at Cominco Arena.

MORE: Bucks vs Smoke Eaters (Oct. 3, 2020)

MORE: Cranbrook Bucks Exhibition Schedule (BCHL)