BLACKFALDS, AB (March 9, 2022) ““ Jack McNaughton (Calgary, AB) shone again with 29 saves, and Riley Bodnarchuk (Okotoks, AB) broke a 1-1 tie with 4:28 left in the game, as the Okotoks Oilers advanced to the AJHL South Semifinal after a 2-1 win in Game 4 in Blackfalds on Wednesday night.
It”™s the sixth consecutive season in which the Oilers have advanced past the first round of the playoffs, an accomplishment they”™ve now registered in 13 of 15 total postseason campaigns.
Outshooting their opposition 15-9 in the first, the Oilers broke through at the 7:35 mark when Rieger Lorenz (Calgary, AB) made a perfect cross-slot pass on a 2-on-1 rush to Ty Yoder (Tofield, AB), who one-timed home the opening goal from the right side for a 1-0 Okotoks lead.
Just under three minutes later, however, Blackfalds would equalize on a Brett Meerman rebound goal, the only blemish on McNaughton”™s night.
In the third, the Bulldogs looked to have taken their first lead when a point shot from Joe Harney ricocheted off a defender”™s stick and past McNaughton; but the puck squarely struck the right post, barely denying the home side the advantage. Moments later, Connor Poffenroth was denied on a two-on-one opportunity of his own, courtesy of a sprawling McNaughton pad save.
That set the stage for Bodnarchuk”™s winner, a point shot from the right side off of a faceoff win that slid by goalie Lucas Massie for a 2-1 advantage, with the Oilers holding off a late flurry of chances from Blackfalds to secure the win.
Okotoks will await the result of the two other South playoff series before knowing who their second round opponent will be. The round is projected to start on March 18th at the arena of the higher-seeded team.