OKOTOKS, AB (October 13, 2022) — In front of a crowd of more than 1,000 fans — most of which were elementary students from schools in the region — the Okotoks Oilers took a 5–2 victory over the Grande Prairie Storm on Thursday afternoon.
Nolan Flint (Beaverlodge, AB) was named the game’s first star after scoring two goals (including the winner) and adding an assist. Ryan Neumann (Calgary, AB), Zeth Kindrachuk (Calgary, AB), and Austin Reschny (Macklin, SK) also scored for the Oilers in the victory.
The Oilers wasted no time out of the gate in getting the kids into the game, with Neumann crashing the Grande Prairie crease and shovelling the game’s opening goal past a down-and-out Adam Kelly just 24 seconds into the first period.
Flint then scored back-to-back goals just 1:30 apart — with his second coming on a Pete the Plumber power play — to end Kelly’s outing at the 6:20 mark of the first period. Connor MacKenzie replaced Kelly in the Grande Prairie goal and made 32 saves on 34 shots the rest of the way, ultimately being named the game’s third star.
The two teams traded goals in the second period. Kindrachuk netted a nifty backhander from in tight for his first goal as an Oiler at the 14:13 mark of the middle frame, but Jack Budd beat Parker Sawka (Cochrane, AB) just under a minute later to spoil the Okotoks netminder’s bid for his second shutout of the season.
Mathis Demers tipped a long-range shot by Nathan Rickey past Sawka to make it 4–2 midway through the third period, but Austin Reschny restored the Oilers’ three-goal lead with a slick move on a Pete the Plumber power play with just 1:26 remaining in regulation time. The Oilers’ 5–2 cushion ultimately held until the final buzzer.
After dominating the score sheet in Monday’s game against the Olds Grizzlys, the Oilers’ affiliate players had another strong outing on Thursday. While Ryder De Nys (Canmore, AB) was held off the board after scoring three points in his AJHL debut, 2006-born forwards Gavin Garland (Calgary, AB) and Max Sullivan (Calgary, AB) combined to set up Flint’s first goal of the afternoon.
Sawka stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced on Thursday to improve his record on the year to 4–4–0 with a .906 save percentage. Aside from Flint, defenceman Jace Moffatt (Cochrane, AB) was the only Oiler to record multiple points in Thursday’s game, collecting a pair of assists.
Okotoks improved to 6–5–0 with the victory; Grande Prairie fell to 2–7–2. The Oilers will return to action at 7:00 p.m. MT on Saturday evening to play host to the Camrose Kodiaks (8–4–0) at Okotoks Centennial Arena.
Photo Credit: Logan Coutts
Recap by: Mike Gould