Midget Oilers disarm Rockets
Hockey: Okotoks wins feisty home opener 5-1
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 06:00 am
It was an exclamation point on a dominant first showing on home ice.
Devin McArthur’s highlight reel second period goal put a stamp on the Okotoks Midget AA Oilers’ 5-1 win over Lacombe, in their home-opener Saturday in front of a boisterous partisan crowd at Murray Arena.
“I just split the defence then there was one guy back and I toe-dragged around him and put it bottom right,” said McArthur, on Okotoks fourth marker of the game. “I just got momentum and kept going, got lucky, got the goal.”
Momentum was on the host’s side right from the get go.
Sean McMaster gave Okotoks the lead just 44 seconds into the contest followed by a marker from the energetic Rei Kickuchi late in the frame to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead.
The Rockets were in flight to start the middle stanza when Lacombe’s Shae Reynolds pulled off an inside-outside move and beat Okotoks’ Isaac Stewart with a top-corner snipe on a five-on-three advantage.
After the Oilers worked themselves out of penalty trouble they restored the two-goal lead. On a delayed penalty Taylor McNeill was left alone on the doorstep to lift the puck over the pads of Lacombe’s Austin Steele on a wild shift that saw Robbie McLean’s breakaway stopped.
McArthur’s great individual effort goal put the Oilers up 4-1 entering the final frame.
Okotoks did not sit back on its lead.
Midway through the frame, Oilers captain Brodie Wilson showed off his geometry skills. The pivot cruised through the blueline and placed a wrister up and in from a seemingly impossible angle for the final marker of the contest.
Lacombe did not go down without a fight as the last 10 minutes were characterized by big hits and extended conversations after the whistle.
Spurred on by its rowdy supporters, Okotoks closed out the game with a pair of devastating open-ice hits from big-bodied winger Rob McLean and a violent board collision initiated by Jordan Grover — a forward with flow reminiscent of a young Jaromir Jagr.
“I can’t believe how we came out tonight,” said Stewart. “Flying, high-tempo, quick start. Everything you want in a home opener.”
The first-year AA Oiler made 25 saves for his second win of the season – both coming against the Rockets.
“We didn’t take bad penalties and capitalized on their misfortune with the penalties,” said Stewart, who made the jump from Tier 1 to AA this year. “There’s no adjustment at all really. It comes with the tryouts. You just adjust as you go along. It’s not tough at all.”
The Oilers followed up the result with a 7-1 win over the Red Deer Elks, Sunday on home ice.
Okotoks sits first in the South Division with a 5-1 record. Next up, the Oilers are home to the CNHA Blazers on Oct. 19 at Pason Centennial Arena. Puck-drop is 6:30 p.m.