CALGARY, AB (November 20, 2023) — Aided by a 26-save performance by Alex Scheiwiller (Calgary, AB) and yet another game-winning goal by Sam Huck (Calgary, AB), the Okotoks Oilers cruised to a 5–1 victory over the Calgary Canucks at Max Bell Centre on Monday night.
Even with more than a half-dozen regulars sidelined, the Oilers consistently outplayed the Canucks throughout the rare Monday game in Calgary. Save for a long penalty kill at the end of the second period, the visitors peppered Calgary goaltender Julian Molinaro with shots all night long and were relentless on the forecheck.
The Oilers opened the scoring just 6:37 into the first period when Jagger Tapper (Calgary, AB) converted off a picture-perfect feed from Owen MacNeil (Calgary, AB) on the power play for his 12th goal of the season. They never relinquished the lead, scoring three times before the Canucks tallied their first (and only) goal of the game.
Huck gave the Oilers a 2–0 lead on a shorthanded breakaway with under two minutes left to play in the first period. The third-year forward had the puck knocked his stick as he tried to shoot, but it ricocheted between Molinaro’s pads and crossed the line for Huck’s team-leading 15th goal of the year.
After defenceman Ethan O’Halloran (Calgary, AB) made it 3–0 Oilers in the second period off another dime of a pass by MacNeil on the power play, the Canucks were given a huge chance to get on the board when Tapper was called for a major penalty and a game misconduct for cross-checking with just over five minutes remaining before the intermission. But although the Canucks put up plenty of shots with the extra attacker, they were unable to beat Scheiwiller in the middle frame.
Finally, with the game back at 5-on-5 just 47 seconds into the third period, the Canucks broke through and made it 3–1 as Ty Hipkin banged home the rebound of a Gavin Schmidt shot for his ninth goal of the year. From there, the Canucks were unable to take advantage of the shorthanded Oilers, who dressed just 11 forwards — including 2008-born affiliate Owen Cooper (Calgary, AB) — in the contest.
The Oilers tacked on two more goals in the third period, with Hunter Sawka (Cochrane, AB) restoring the three-goal lead off a lucky bounce midway through the frame before Jack Silverberg (Sherwood Park, AB) iced it into an empty net in the dying minutes of regulation.
With the win, the Oilers took sole possession of fourth in the 2023–24 AJHL standings. They have now won three consecutive games and are three points back of the Blackfalds Bulldogs (who have two games in hand) for third place in the league heading into their game against the Olds Grizzlys at Okotoks Centennial Arena on Friday night.
Recap: Mike Gould
Photo: Chad Goddard