Oilers let one slip in opener
Hockey: Mustangs steal win from Okotoks
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 09:48 pm
Hell hath no fury like a pair of jilted hockey players.
Former Okotoks Oilers Connor Collett and Riley McDougall came back to haunt their old squad as the Calgary Mustangs earned a 3-1 result Sunday at Father David Bauer Arena to spoil Okotoks’ season opener.
“It was definitely an interesting experience, especially with my little brother (Mitch) on the other team,” said Collett, a three-year Oiler prior to being traded last summer. “Playing with Riley we really had that fire to really want to win this game badly for our own sake and being on a new, team too.
“The end result felt real nice for sure.”
Okotoks had the jump on the host Mustangs with a dominant first-period, allowing just two shots, but were unable to capitalize on countless golden opportunities.
The Oilers again had the Mustangs on their heels to start the second frame before the game turned on one massive collision.
Ty Clay was caught in the open-ice by Mustang Connor Bass leading to a turnover at the blueline and a clear cut breakaway for McDougall. The former Oiler made no mistake, beating Jared D’Amico high on Calgary’s third shot of the game.
Calgary doubled its money on the man-advantage when McDougall fed a brilliant cross-crease pass to Collett for what would prove to be the game-winner.
“He got the puck down low and just looked for me right across the crease,” Collett said. “I didn’t have to do much work, but it was nice to see it go in.”
John Edwardh finally got the Oilers on the board 37 seconds later as his wrist shot snuck underneath the wickets of Calgary’s Ravi Dattani and trickled into the net to put Okotoks in striking distance heading into the third period.
Okotoks had Calgary hemmed in its own zone for much of the final stanza, but created limited scoring chances with the sustained pressure.
Edwardh had a breakaway broken-up by a diving Jared Van Ree and Mitch Collett and Robbie Fisher were both stymied on rebound opportunities in the slot.
Mustang Joel Wentworth sealed Calgary’s first win of the campaign with an empty-net tally. Okotoks out-shot Calgary 34-12, but finished 0-for-5 on the powerplay and failed to kill its only shorthanded situation.
“It’s one of those games where you essentially dominate the first period, out-chanced them and missed the net on a ton of opportunities,” Oilers head coach James Poole said. “You let a team hang around and they made us pay for it.
“We weren’t crisp and we looked sloppy in some areas, especially our powerplay.”
Perhaps the only one as happy as the ex-Oilers players following the result was Mustangs head coach Derek Stuart, a longtime member of Poole’s staff prior to this season.
“Go figure, he gets his first AJHL win against me,” Poole said with a smile. “We’re happy for him and hope he does well with the exception of when they play us.”
For Stuart, it was business as usual while coaching against his former bench boss and several ex-players.
“I talked to (James) a little bit before the game, but other than that I didn’t really notice it,” Stuart said. “I was trying to convince the boys and myself that they were just another team coming in here, but the history being with James and the organization for three years now it feels a little bit nicer than (getting a first win) on an other team.
“At the same time our focus is on our game and I’m just proud the guys battled that hard in the last 40.”
As the Mustangs celebrate their first win, the Oilers get back to the drawing board this week in pursuit of their own. Okotoks opens up its home slate this weekend with a pair of rivalry games as it welcomes the Olds Grizzlys and Brooks Bandits to Big Rock Country.
“It’s nice having those couple days of practice before we play them to work out the kinks out of our game,” said Oilers defenceman Jordan Swenson. “You always get up for those (rivalry) games so we’re looking forward to it.”
The Oilers’ home opener is Friday against the Grizzlys followed by a Saturday night showdown with the Bandits. Both games are 7 p.m. starts at Pason Centennial Arena.