BLACKFALDS, AB (February 18, 2023) — Despite a 4-0 first period deficit, the Okotoks Oilers made several comeback bids against a strong offensive charge by the host Blackfalds Bulldogs on Saturday night, but fell short in a 9-6 loss on the road.
With the defeat, the Oilers fall to 33 – 19 – 3 on the season, and into 3rd place in the AJHL South, two points back of Blackfalds. With Drumheller’s win the same night over Olds, the Dragons moved just 3 points behind Okotoks, with a game in hand.
Brett Meerman opened the scoring for the home side at the 10:31 mark, and the game remained 1-0 until a 4-on-4 sequence on which Blackfalds scored three times in the span of 70 seconds – the first a Tyler Wallace rebound goal at 14:23, followed up by back to back goals from Jayden Joly at 15:16 and 15:33.
In the 2nd, after killing off a 5-minute Blackfalds power play, the Oilers got on the board with a top shelf snipe by Ty Yoder (Tofield, AB) at 7:04, his second goal in as many games. But Blackfalds stormed back with a Jason Siedem rebound goal on the power play at 9:08 and a Jack Plandowski goal off the rush less than a minute later to make it 6-1.
Okotoks again pressed; Conyr Hellyer (Okotoks, AB) scored his team-leading 29th of the season, tipping home a Zeth Kindrachuk (Calgary, AB) shot at 11:34, and Ryan Neumann (Calgary, AB) followed it up with a one-timer goal from the right circle at 12:44 to cut the deficit to three, but Wallace scored a shorthanded goal at 15:23 off the rush to make it 7-3. Still, the Oilers didn’t go away quietly as Jagger Tapper (Calgary, AB) scored a power play rebound goal at 16:40 to make it 7-4 heading into the final frame.
Blackfalds scored on the opening shift of the third, however, with Jayden Joly’s hat trick goal making it 8-4. Again Okotoks scored in bunches thereafter, with Kindrachuk tallying at 8:38 and Neumann getting his second of the game on a one-timer on a loose puck at 8:51. But on a high clearance by Blackfalds from their own zone, the puck was chased down by Connor Dick for a breakaway, as the Bulldogs rookie potted a final goal past Alex Scheiwiller (Calgary, AB) to notch the 9-6 final score.
The final shot count was 39-31 for Blackfalds, with Scheiwiller making 30 saves and veteran Matthew Hennessey stopping 25 of 31.
The Oilers will host their annual Family Day Game on Monday afternoon with the Calgary Canucks in town for a 4:15 PM puck drop. All fans under 18 can get their tickets to the game for free, at the door or online at tickets.okotoksoilers.ca; fans are also invited to a free Skate with the Oilers after the game; just bring skates and a helmet!