OKOTOKS, AB (December 20, 2022) — On a night where former franchise cornerstones Tucker McRae and Zane Kindrachuk returned to Centennial Arena for a warm holiday welcome, the Okotoks Oilers put on a good show in their “Ugly Christmas Sweater” jerseys and defeated the Calgary Canucks by a 4–3 score.
Nolan Flint (Beaverlodge, AB) tallied the eventual game-winning goal to cap off his 100th Alberta Junior Hockey League contest while Oilers starting goaltender Alex Scheiwiller (Calgary, AB) made 17 saves to outduel the Canucks’ Max Prazma for the W.
QUICK HITS: The Oilers come back from an early 2-0 deficit, getting two points from Jace Moffatt and a game-winner from Nolan Flint in his 100th game as an Oiler, beating Calgary 4-3 on Ugly Christmas Sweater Jersey Night! #AJHL pic.twitter.com/6xec0DdwBt
— Okotoks Oilers (@OkotoksOilers) December 21, 2022
The Canucks took a 2–0 lead midway through the first period off back-to-back power-play goals by Justin Barker while Oilers defenceman Nick Wolfenberg (Calgary, AB) served a four-minute penalty for spearing.
Zeth Kindrachuk (Calgary, AB) cut the Canucks’ lead in half with a power-play marker of his own late in the first period, but the 2–1 score would hold into both the first and second intermissions as both goaltenders stood tall at their respective ends.
The Oilers outshot the Canucks by commanding margins in all three periods (15–7, 13–6, and 13–7, respectively) and finally managed to take over on the scoreboard in the third. Jace Moffatt (Cochrane, AB) managed to tie it off a quick feed from Oilers captain Dean Spak (Calgary, AB) just 3:50 into the final frame.
From there, Okotoks’ big guns went to work. Connor Gourley (Calgary, AB) made it 3–2 with a tremendous individual effort less than three minutes after Moffatt’s equalizer; later on, Flint gave the home side some breathing room with a nifty deflection for his eighth goal of the year, matching his output from all of last season in the process.
The Canucks got one back with 2:35 to play as former Oilers forward Bowden Singleton set up Blake Setter for a tap-in to the right of Scheiwiller, but it was as close as they’d come. Even with Moffatt’s attempt at an empty-net goal disallowed, the Oilers managed to hold on for a 4–3 win in front of their home fans.
With the victory, the Oilers improved to 21–12–1–2 on the season and moved within 23 points of the Brooks Bandits for first place in the AJHL South Division. They’ll return to action on December 30 when they visit the Canmore Eagles.
Recap: Mike Gould
Photo: Logan Coutts