Generals snap Bisons' unbeaten streak
Hockey: Cochrane halts Okotoks' run at 29 games
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 06:00 am
All good things must come to an end.
The Okotoks Bisons’ streak of 29 games without a loss and 21 consecutive victories came to a crashing halt Saturday at the hands of a desperate Generals team in a 4-3 overtime game in Cochrane.
“We came up against goaltending. We certainly had lots of momentum and pressure and opportunities and just didn’t capitalize,” said Bisons general manager Jay McFarlane. “To be honest, to be able to have the hype of the streak end is actually not a bad thing. We can now focus on finishing up the regular season and getting ready for playoffs.”
The Bisons looked poised to extend the streak to 30 after a promising first period lead of 3-1 on goals from Okotokian Darren Bordt as well as Phil Dillon and Jeremy Smith.
Cochrane’s Craig Pickard and Ian McRae tied the game in the third period and set the stage for feisty forward Tyson Soloski to register the game winner on a breakaway 2:24 into overtime.
The Generals moved seven points ahead of the High River Flyers for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s (HJHL) Southern Division.
The Bisons general manager said the unbeaten streak became a primary focus in the HJHL with Okotoks’ opponents charged up to put an end to the run.
“It’s something that’s easy to get caught up with,” McFarlane said. “Everyone is talking about it and everyone wants to be the team that does it. Cochrane has bragging rights now.”
Bisons forward Dillon Loomer, the third leading scorer in the HJHL with 34 goals and 63 points, was disappointed to end up on the wrong end of the scoreboard for the first time since late September.
“I think everyone is a little disappointed, but it’s better for it to happen now than in the playoffs,” Loomer said. “It’s not the end of the world. We will get over it and keep doing what we’re doing.”
The Bisons had no time to feel sorry for themselves as they had a date with the North Division kingpins, the Blackfalds Wranglers on Sunday.
Turnabout was fair play for Okotoks who played the role of comeback kids in corralling the Wranglers with a third-period comeback.
Bison pivot Brodie Eisbrenner tied the game 4-4 with 10 seconds left in the third period to send the game into overtime, where it would end in a draw.
Smith, Chase Fallis and Ty Fehr earlier scored for the Bisons.
McFarlane said it was a positive performance coming off the team’s first loss in four months.
“It was as expected. Both teams are fairly competitive and evenly matched,” McFarlane said. “I think it was a good test to see how we can recover within 24 hours. We played the top team in my mind of the North and competed well.”
For the Bisons the magic number is three. If Okotoks can pick up three points or more from its final five contests, it will clinch its second straight regular season title and home-ice advantage throughout the post-season.
With playoff positioning coming down to the wire, there will be no easy points earned for the remainder of the season, McFarlane said.
“The tests are going to come with the games left against teams fighting for the playoffs,” McFarlane said. “We play Banff twice and they’re on a roll. They just beat Red Deer 5-1. We’re going to have adjust and get away from being complacent and get into playoff mode with teams that are already in that mode.”
Okotoks hosts the Banff Bears on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Murray Arena and doesn’t hit the ice again for two weeks.
For full stats and results go to www.okotoksbisons.com.