OKOTOKS, AB (December 10, 2022) — For the second time in as many nights, Ty Yoder (Tofield, AB) scored the deciding goal to lift the Okotoks Oilers to a victory in front of their home fans.
On Saturday, Yoder’s game-winning tally came midway through the third period to give the Oilers a 5–4 lead that would hold until the final buzzer. The veteran forward scored the Oilers’ third power-play goal of the evening off a nifty feed from Zeth Kindrachuk (Calgary, AB) to send the crowd of 801 at Okotoks Centennial Arena into a frenzy.
Yoder previously scored in overtime for the Oilers in their 4–3 win over the Calgary Canucks in Okotoks on Friday. “The Tofield Toe-dragger” stayed humble about his recent success when chatting with Oilers play-by-play commentator Keegan Bartram after Saturday’s game.
“For me, I think, right place, right time,” said Yoder, who now ranks third on the Oilers with 12 goals in 25 games this season. “Anyone could’ve scored those goals. For me, I just had to be the one to do it.”
Yoder’s dagger capped off a back-and-forth game in Okotoks which saw the Oilers lead 1–0, 3–1, and 4–2 before stumbling into the intermission with the game tied at four. As was the case in their game against the Canucks on Friday, the Oilers played with an affiliate-filled lineup against the Dragons with more than a half-dozen players unavailable for various reasons (World Junior A Challenge representatives Sam Huck, Conyr Hellyer, and Nick Wolfenberg among them).
The Oilers’ affiliates more than stood their ground on Saturday, with two of them connecting to score the first goal of the hockey game. Max Heise (Calgary, AB) tallied off a one-timer in the slot after taking a nice feed from Kade Duell (Taber, AB), with both players picking up their first AJHL points on the play.
Sam Simard responded less than a minute later for Drumheller to tie the game at one, but the Oilers scored two power-play goals in the final minutes of the opening frame to take a comfortable 3–1 lead into the first intermission. First, Jagger Tapper (Calgary, AB) finished off a nice passing play with Shayne Tibbles (Calgary, AB) in tight to restore the one-goal cushion; then, just over two minutes later, Brody Maguire (Calgary, AB) beat Dragons starter Garrett Fuller from distance to give the Oilers some breathing room.
The Dragons roared back into the game with a strong second period, outshooting the Oilers 13–10 and beating Parker Sawka (Cochrane, AB) three times. Noah Danielson, Adam Raesler, and Ben Christian all found the back of the net for Drumheller in the middle 20.
Sandwiched between all those Drumheller tallies was a nice shorthanded goal by Ethan Rowland (Calgary, AB), who capitalized off a miscue by Fuller to make it 4–2 Oilers midway through the period. But the Oilers couldn’t hold onto the lead, giving up a goal with just 12 ticks remaining in the frame to make it 4–4 heading into the second intermission.
Yoder saved the day at the 9:25 mark of the third period and was ultimately named the first star of the hockey game in recognition of his efforts. The Oilers will return to action in Olds against the Grizzlys on Dec. 16 before heading to Calgary for another meeting with the Canucks on Dec. 17.
Recap: Mike Gould
Photo: Logan Coutts