OKOTOKS, AB (November 25, 2022) — Despite taking the lead on an early goal by team captain Dean Spak (Calgary, AB), the Okotoks Oilers were overwhelmed by the Drayton Valley Thunder on Friday night and ended up falling by an 8–3 score.
A crowd of 747 ended up taking in the back-and-forth contest at Okotoks Centennial Arena, during which the Oilers conceded two separate runs of four consecutive goals.
One bright spot for the Oilers: Conyr Hellyer (Okotoks, AB), who set up Spak’s opening goal in the first period and scored his team-leading 18th late in the second to cut the Thunder lead to 4–2. Hellyer was recognized as the third star.
Jackson Rowland (Calgary, AB) tallied off a nice feed from Hunter Sawka (Cochrane, AB) to bring the Oilers within one to kick off the third period. But the game remained close for less than two minutes before Thunder forward Gavin Middendorf scored his first of two goals in the final frame to make it 5–3.
From there, Verbeek added his third and fourth goals of the night before Middendorf put the cherry on top of a commanding win for the visitors. Final score: 8–3.
The Oilers outshot the Thunder 34–31 but struggled to prevent their opponents from creating odd-man rushes against starting goaltender Alex Scheiwiller (Calgary, AB), who stopped 23 of 30 shots in the loss.
Drayton Valley dominated on special teams in the win, going a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and scoring three times on seven power-play opportunities. After the Oilers drew within one and looked to build momentum early in the third period, defenceman Rylan Brown (Sherwood Park, AB) was called for closing his hand on the puck — and Drayton Valley converted on the ensuing man advantage to effectively put the game away.
The Oilers will look to forget all about their blowout loss to Drayton Valley as they prepare to welcome the Sherwood Park Crusaders to Okotoks Centennial Arena on Saturday night.
Recap: Mike Gould
Photo: Chad Goddard