Oilers drop season finale, 5-3 in Drumheller

DRUMHELLER, AB (March 5, 2023) — The Okotoks Oilers battled back late, but couldn’t catch another strong start by the Drumheller Dragons, who took a 5-3 decision on Saturday to leapfrog Okotoks into third place in the AJHL South standings.

With the loss, the Oilers finish the 2022-23 season at 34-23-3, and will take on the Camrose Kodiaks in the first round of the playoffs starting next Friday and Saturday at home.

Despite outshooting the home side 10-3 in the first, the Oilers allowed the only goal of the opening frame after a too many men penalty, with Kai Matthew scoring at 3:49 to give the Dragons the lead.

In the second, the Oilers allowed a breakaway goal to Adam Raesler just 16 second in to double the Drumheller lead, before Ethan Rowland (Calgary, AB) responded on the very next shift, tipping home a Jamie Weller (Calgary, AB) pass at the net front to get the Oilers on the board.

But at the 4 minute mark, with the Oilers on the power play, another turnover led to a Ty Whitford shorthanded breakaway goal to make it 3-1.

Drumheller extended that lead to 4-1 just 1:41 into the third on a crisp passing play off the rush finished off by Coy Pighin. But the Oilers pressed from there, getting a net front one-timer goal by Dean Spak (Calgary, AB) at 3:32, and then a Jackson Rowland (Calgary, AB) one-timer set up by Zeth Kindrachuk (Calgary, AB) at 16:01 to pull them within one.

But Raesler sealed it with an empty netter at 19:31 to notch the 5-3 final score.

The Oilers will next host games 1 and 2 of the AJHL South Quarterfinal on Friday and Saturday against Camrose, with both games scheduled for 7 PM.