OKOTOKS, AB (September 22, 2023) — Christian Green (Boothwyn, PA) made 27 saves in his season debut and Hunter Sawka (Cochrane, AB) notched a goal and an assist as the Okotoks Oilers defeated the Blackfalds Bulldogs by a 5–2 score at Okotoks Centennial Arena on Friday night.
Five different Oilers forwards scored in the game, which saw the home side never relinquish its lead after going ahead 1–0 at the 2:08 mark of the second period. Hayden Fechner (Edmonton, AB) got the party started with a blistering one-timer for his first goal as an Oiler before fan favourites Dean Spak (Calgary, AB) and Sam Huck (Calgary, AB) tallied in quick succession to make it a 3–0 game.
The Oilers took a 4–0 lead at the 2:30 mark of the third period when Sawka picked up a pass from Jackson Rowland (Calgary, AB) and walked largely uncontested into the slot before snapping a quick shot past Bulldogs goaltender Ethan Morrow.
In the minutes after Sawka scored, two unforced defensive errors on the Oilers’ part resulted in the Bulldogs cutting their deficit in half and snapping Green’s bid for a shutout in his debut. Alexander Dimitriadis and Edward Moskowitz scored just 1:26 apart early in the third period to make it a 4–2 game. Blackfalds outshot the Oilers by a 12–9 count in the final frame.
After a few nervous minutes, the Oilers finally breathed a sigh of relief when Colton Alexander (Cochrane, AB) scored off a beautiful individual effort to restore the three-goal cushion. The 5–2 score held through the final buzzer in Okotoks, with the Oilers improving to 4–0–0 on the season as a result.
With the Sherwood Park Crusaders falling to the Brooks Bandits on Friday, the Oilers and the Camrose Kodiaks are the only two remaining undefeated teams in the AJHL. The Oilers previously defeated the Kodiaks in four games in the first round of the 2023 AJHL Playoffs.
Recap: Mike Gould
Photo: Chad Goddard