Oilers drop close one in Drumheller, 3-2

DRUMHELLER, AB (November 18, 2022) — The Okotoks Oilers’ woes in one-goal games continued on Friday night, as the team fell in another close nailbiter, 3-2 in Drumheller to the host Dragons.

The Oilers’ record in games decided by a single goal fell to 1-4-3, while the overall record sits at 15-8-3, up four points on both Blackfalds and Camrose for second place in the AJHL South, but with both of those teams holding two games in hand.

Playing without leading scorer Conyr Hellyer (Okotoks, AB), the Oilers were nonetheless boosted by the return of captain Dean Spak (Calgary, AB), who played his first game since September 27th.

Okotoks thought they had opened the scoring early in the first when a shot by Brett Huxley (Calgary, AB) hit the right post behind Drumheller goalie Liam Choquette, but was ruled to have gone in, before an officials’ conference reversed the call. Drumheller then got the first one on a shot off the rush by Easton Adrian. But Okotoks tied it up in the second when Spak centred a puck from the half wall to Huxley, who fired his shot home for a no-doubter to make it 1-1.

But Drumheller retook the lead before the end of the period on a rebound goal from Sam Simard, and another Oiler goal, this one a point shot from affiliate defenceman Ryder De Nys (Canmore, AB), was waved off due to the Drumheller net being dislodged.

The Dragons extended their lead on a 2-on-1 rush goal from Coy Pighin early in the third, before the Oilers pounced on a Dragon turnover with Ethan Rowland (Calgary, AB) spinning home a backhand goal to make it 3-2. But it was as close as the Oilers would come. Drumheller outshot Okotoks 36-28 in the game, with Parker Sawka (Cochrane, AB) making 33 saves in the loss.

The Oilers return home for the first time in five games on Saturday night, hosting the Canmore Eagles at 7. Tickets are available online at tickets.okotoksoilers.ca.