Tim Matwey

A quick look at Wenatchee and Cranbrook’s budding BCHL rivalry

The Wenatchee Wild and the Cranbrook Bucks are the two youngest teams in the BCHL and have grown to know each other a lot over the past season.

The Wild played the Bucks eight times, and out of those eight times, five were at home, with three on the road. The Wild went 5-3 against the Bucks and 4-1 at home while being 1-2 on the road.

The first time the Wild played the Bucks was on January 20th, and between then and March 26th, the two teams combined to play eight games against each other.

On three occasions this season, they played each other back-to-back nights, two times they split those series, and on the first back-to-back series, the Wild swept the Bucks.

Another thing that made this series enjoyable was that out of the eight games, four were decided by one goal; however, the Bucks lost all the games decided by a goal. All eight games were decided in regulation as well.

The Wild were also 5-0 if they held the Bucks to two goals or less but were 0-3 if the Bucks scored three or more goals.

As I stated previously, these teams are both the newest in the league, with 2021-22 being the Bucks first full season of BCHL hockey. Technically, Cranbrook’s first season was in the Penticton pod last spring. Both squads are located in the Interior Conference and finished 13 points apart in the standings as Cranbrook was fifth and Wenatchee came in seventh.

The Wild’s first season in the BCHL was in 2015 after the franchise spent seven seasons in the North American Hockey League. It didn’t win a championship in the NAHL but claimed the BCHL’s Fred Page Cup championship in just its third season. As well, Wenatchee claimed the BC-Alberta Doyle Cup and played in the RBC Cup national junior A championship tournament.

Head-to-head in 2021-22

Who stood out in the eight games this past season for the Wild include Quinn Emerson, Cade Littler, and Ean Somoza, who each averaged a point per game against the Bucks.

Now for the other side of it, some players who were able to stand out for the Bucks include Tyson Dyck, who had 10 points in the eight games against the Wild. A few other notables for Cranbrook include Noah Quinn and Liam Hansson.

Only two of these players, one on each team, have aged out of junior hockey. Wenatchee’s Emerson and Cranbrook’s Hansson won’t be back with their respective teams. As a result, we could see most of the players listed above grow and make these games even more competitive in 2022-23 and beyond.

With that being said, as these teams are the newest in the BCHL, this rivalry will continue to grow over the next few years and give us great games between both teams as time progresses.

Additionally, Dyck and Littler are both on the NHL Central Scouting’s North American skater rankings for the upcoming NHL Draft, so you will be seeing these two a lot over the next few seasons in junior and the NCAA as they are key parts of what has quickly become a burgeoning rivalry in the BC Hockey League.