Bisons bounce back with win over Colts
Hockey: Okotoks Jr. B's fight off Mountainview for 5-3 triumph
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 06:00 am
The Okotoks Jr. B Bisons bounced back from an off-week with a showcase of trademark character on the ice.
Okotoks staved off a third period surge to rein in the previously undefeated Mountainview Colts by a 5-3 score in Heritage Junior Hockey League action Friday night at Murray Arena.
“We can’t rely on goal scoring as much as we did last year so when we’re down we really look for key players to step up,” said Bisons centre Zak Johns. “It was a good test to see if we could come through and we did.
“Week-by-week we’re progressing, you can see it in practice and it shows in games.”
The Bisons opened the scoring in the first period through an unlikely source.
Sophomore stay-at-home blueliner Bryce Honish’s screened shot from the point found the back of the net for his first goal in his second season with the Jr. B club.
In the middle frame, following a dominant shift on the cycle, Okotoks’ first line made good on the perseverance.
Winger Kevan Mikkelsen fired an innocent shot on goal and it trickled through the wickets of Mountainview netminder Connor Slipp.
The Colts answered back when six-foot-six defenceman Kevin Vandenhoven used his range for an inside-outside move around an Okotoks defender leading to his first marker of the season.
Riding high from his first-goal as a Bison, Honish doubled his money and the Okotoks’ advantage to two goals on the man-advantage.
“It’s never happened before so it felt pretty good. First multi-goal game,” Honish said. “I just shot it from the point, we had guys in front and it got through. Then the second one I just came down on the powerplay and banged one in from in front of the net.”
Entering the third period facing a 3-1 deficit, the Colts came out with a sense of urgency to start the frame.
The visitors didn’t waste any time cutting into the lead.
A redirected shot from Colton Anderson and a seeing-eye wrister from Colts captain Braeden Anderson just 69 seconds apart tied the game up at threes with more than 16 minutes to play.
Mountainview had the ice tilted firmly in its favour on the next several shifts, but could not find the elusive fourth-goal.
The hosts made them pay for the missed opportunities.
A set play from the Bisons reformed first line, featuring Phil Dillon, Mikkelsen and Johns in the middle, provided the hosts with the priceless game winner with just over seven minutes on the clock.
“Phil Dillon called the play right away, he told Tyson (Arnholtz) to go back door and (Phil) is pretty gifted, it was right on my stick. I couldn’t miss it,” Johns said. “I was just in the right place in the right time.”
Perhaps frustrated with allowing the Bisons to take the lead, the physical intensity spilled over moments later when Bison Jeff Garland was slashed and then jumped by a fired-up Colt Curtis Smith.
Following the skirmish, the Bisons were awarded a nine-minute powerplay to close out the contest nursing a narrow one-goal lead.
Rookie Luke Loomer added a late insurance marker on the extended powerplay by collecting a rebound in the slot and going bar-down with a wicked wrister.
Fellow-freshman forward Brooker Pretty Youngman chipped in with two assists.
“Our rookies stepped up today, a bounce back game. They played the body more, were physical and hard on the forecheck,” Honish said. “We just supported each other. If somebody got rammed with a cheap hit, we stepped in for each other and backed each other up.”
First-year goalie Bryce Halverson picked up his second win on the campaign by stopping 22 of 25 Colts shots.
Assistant general manager Zach Baba, a provincial champion as a player last season, said he was impressed with the rebound performance following a big four-goal loss to the High River Flyers seven days prior.
“High River played well against us and out-hit us that game,” Baba said. “Tonight we came in with more intensity and a better attitude.”
The Bisons carried the strong effort into a statement 4-0 road shutout over the division leading Coaldale Copperheads on Saturday night.
Loomer, Matt Howatt, Mikkelsen and captain Michael Savage all scored for the visitors. Alex Bilton made 27 saves for the shutout and his first win of the season.
Okotoks (3-1) is on the road again for a Friday date with the Airdrie Thunder. The Bisons then close out the weekend slate by hosting the Three Hills Thrashers, Sunday at 1:15 p.m.
For the full Bisons schedule visit okotoksbisons.com