Oilers heading back to Midget provincials
Hockey: Okotoks outlasts Foothills Bisons in Zone 2 playoff
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 06:00 am
The Okotoks Midget AA Oilers didn’t change their feisty style even when it had a comfortable lead going into the final game of the Zone 2 playoffs on Valentine’s Day.
Now the Oilers will have a chance to kiss the Midget AA provincial championship banner for the second-consecutive year after beating the Foothills Bisons 3-1 in Nanton on Feb. 14. The victory gave the Oilers a 7-2 victory in the two-game total point series to advance to provincials.
“We had a three-goal lead going into the game and I told the guys we can’t change our style — play smart, keep the puck deep,” said Oilers coach Cliff Bordt. “We knew they were going to come out at us very hard. We are a physical team and aren’t going to change our style.”
When you play physical, often it results in a few Oil drops in the penalty box. Okotoks successfully killed off two four-minute penalties in the first period.
The Oilers took another penalty early in the second period, this time the Bisons should have declined.
Oiler forward Kyle Becker jumped all over a loose puck and beat Bison goalie Austin Beauchamp high on the stick side for an unassisted short-handed goal to give Okotoks a 1-0 lead four minutes into the second.
“Their (defenceman) fumbled the puck and I was able to get a clear breakaway,” Becker said. “I thought that was huge for us to get us going.”
However, turnaround is fair play. The Bisons would tie the game at 1-1 on a short-handed goal of their own from Colby Walden approximately two minutes later.
Special teams would give the Oilers the lead for good when Jaret Bordt was able to slip the puck into a nearly wide open net to cap off a pretty powerplay goal.
“It was a pretty easy goal for me,” Bordt said with a smile. “Brodie Wilson and Sean McMaster opened the ice up for me and Sean gave me a perfect pass.”
He said the goal gave the Oilers momentum and he could feel the Bisons let down a bit as they took a 2-1 lead and more importantly a 6-2 lead in the two-game total point series with about 30 minutes left.
The Oilers took a 3-1 lead early in the third period when Brayden Hawryluk notched a powerplay goal scoring from an impossible angle. If the puck would have gone any higher in the air Hawryluk would have been called out on the infield fly ball rule. The puck bounced around and somehow wound up in the Bisons’ net.
Oilers goalie Garrett Mason turned in a workmanlike performance, but he stressed he couldn’t be complacent in the game despite having a three-goal advantage.
“It’s nice to have the three-goal lead, but I couldn’t relax,” Mason said.
It was tough to relax when the Oilers took two four-minute penalties in the opening frame. Both times Mason turned away all the shots he faced.
“I wanted to just keep my team in there so we could get to provincials,” said Mason, who was called up to Midget AA in October.
Foothills Bison coach Rick Donnelly said he has a young squad with many 15 and 16-year-old players and they were outmuscled by the more experienced Oilers.
“We were thinking that if we could win every period we would either force overtime or win the series,” Donnelly said. “We are a young team and we played well in the first period. We got tired and we started to breakdown.”
He added the Bisons missed some opportunities in the opening period on the powerplay. The Oilers will hope to repeat as provincial champions when they head to Whitecourt in March.
The Oilers’ coach said they are going to Whitecourt to win.
“We don’t know the teams that will be in there,” Bordt said. “We’re in the same boat as we were last year. We play a similar style and we are hard to play against…Whitecourt is going to be wide open and every team is going there expecting to win. We are going there expecting to win.”