Hometown all-stars put on a show
Hockey: Nine Okotoks products hit the ice for AA showcase
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 06:00 am
Don’t tell Alberta’s best AA hockey players that all-star games don’t matter.
The elite at the Midget, Bantam and Peewee level from the South Central Alberta Hockey treated a capacity crowd at the Murray Arena in Okotoks to a full day of playoff-like intensity through three North versus South all-star games on Sunday.
The Midget AA North All-Stars held on for a 6-5 win in a seesaw affair with the South, featuring Okotoks AA Oilers Sean McMaster, Steele Erickson and Cameron Frammingham.
“It was fun and exciting and fast and I didn’t expect that off the start,” Frammingham said. “I thought it would be a little more toned down, but it was a high-paced game.”
The hard-hitting Okotoks defenceman said the South All-Stars were at a slight disadvantage before puck drop.
“The other team had some better players for sure.” Frammingham said. “We thought, in the dressing room, that we were going to get pumped, but we hung in there.”
Team South peppered the opposition goal with the extra-man in the final moments, but couldn’t get the rubber past the pipes.
“We could have buried on some chances all of us, but it was a fairly close game,” Erickson said. “It was a good experience. I was glad to be at home to have that home-crowd and home-ice advantage. It was very loud too.”
Okotoks products were at the forefront of the South All-Stars’ 6-4 triumph in the Bantam division.
Tate Laycraft kick started the offence with a highlight reel goal in the second period.
“I was on a line with the Medicine Hat kids and one of them chipped the puck from the boards to me,” said Laycraft, a Grade 9 student at Okotoks Junior High. “I got in with just a quick backhand-forehand over his shoulder move.”
The South All-Stars carried a 3-1 lead into the third period and called on Okotoks goalie Liam Aitken to shut the door. Unfortunately for the netminder, South found itself in serious penalty trouble to start the period and an energetic North squad popped in three quick goals.
“It was a little overwhelming. I came in cold and then got quite a lot of shots,” Aitken said. “The first couple (goals) weren’t great, but after that I played alright.”
South atoned for their undisciplined play and picked up their goalie to score three unanswered goals in the final 10 minutes to hold on for the two-goal win.
“Our coaches were talking about how we need to get it down deep more and we need to hit,” said Okotoks forward Wyatt Derksen, who assisted on South’s sixth goal. “It was a really fun game, quick passes, quick cycling and the defencemen were good at getting it down low and the forwards took lots of shots. It was all around the way hockey should be.”
In the Peewee game, the North All-Stars erased a one-goal deficit heading into the third period and came out 4-3 winners in yet another terrific matchup.
Hometown blueliner Loeden Schaufler logged big minutes on the back-end for Team South and attributed the comeback in the third period to work ethic.
“We just weren’t skating enough,” he said.
Teammate Gibb Coady was named player of the game for the South after registering a two-point performance, highlighted by the first goal of the game.
“I remember getting the puck around the corner and just driving it to the net and whacking it in,” said Coady, a Grade 7 student at Okotoks Junior High. “I worked my hardest. It was really intense.”
Coady, fifth in the SCAHL scoring race with 25 goals and 55 points, said the all-star experience should give he and the Okotoks Peewee AA Oilers a boost for the remainder of the season.
Not that they need any help.
The Peewee Oilers boast an impressive record of 23-1-2, and sit comfortably atop the South Division standings.
For more information on the Okotoks AA program go to www.ooaaoilerhockey.com.