OKOTOKS, AB (September 23, 2022) — Powered by goals from five different players, the Okotoks Oilers (2–1) took a commanding 5–2 victory over the Olds Grizzlys in the 2022 Home Opener, presented by Cooper Equipment Rentals, on Friday evening.
Parker Sawka (Cochrane, AB) stopped 21 of 23 shots to pick up his second consecutive win. The Oilers peppered Grizzlys netminder Marek Andres with 44 shots in the contest.
First-year Oilers forward Jackson Rowland (Calgary, AB) opened the scoring 7:14 into the first period, scoring from the slot for his first Junior A goal, before Brett Huxley (Calgary, AB) and Austin Reschny (Macklin, SK) tallied in quick succession in the final minutes to help the Oilers enter the first intermission up 3–0.
The Oilers turned things up a notch in the second period, outshooting the Grizzlys 17–8 and scoring two goals to counter their opponents’ one.
First, after Colby Browne made it 3–1 midway through the frame, alternate captain Conyr Hellyer restored the Oilers’ three-goal cushion less than two minutes later. Then, with 2:15 to play in the middle period, Oilers defenceman Nick Wolfenberg (Calgary, AB) jumped up into the rush and buried a feed from Nolan Flint (Beaverlodge, AB) to make it a 5–1 hockey game.
Ethan Mercer received the credit for bringing Olds back within three goals early in the third period, although the goal actually came as a result of an Oilers clearing attempt that ricocheted off Huxley’s leg and past Sawka. The strange tally stood as the game’s final goal, with the score going into the record books as 5–2 in the Oilers’ favour.
Friday’s game at Okotoks Centennial Arena also featured a late bout of fisticuffs between Logan Neilson and Ryan Neumann (Calgary, AB), with the Oilers forward taking exception to a heavy hit thrown by David Clarke on Hellyer. Both Neumann and Neilson received fighting majors; Clarke was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct for checking from behind.
The Oilers will carry their first winning streak of the 2022–23 into Saturday’s home game, which will pit them against the second team they defeated during the 2022 AJHL Playoffs: the Drumheller Dragons. Opening puck-drop at Centennial Arena is set for 7:00 p.m. MT.
Photo Credit: Chad Goddard Photography
Recap by: Mike Gould