Last second win puts Bisons on top
Hockey: Okotoks beats buzzer in 4-3 win over Three Hills
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 06:00 am
The battle for first place in the Heritage Junior Hockey League lived up to the billing.
The Okotoks Bisons stormed back from 3-0 down to defeat the Three Hills Thrashers 4-3 in overtime on rookie forward Brooker Pretty Youngman’s buzzer beater with 1.3 seconds left in the extra session, Sunday at Murray Arena.
“They tried to clear it and my teammate (Kristian Ayoungman) intercepted it and threw it to the front,” said Pretty Youngman on his first goal as a Bison. “I actually thought the time was up. I was just in the right place at the right time and needed to get that winner.”
Okotoks’ fourth straight victory gave the club sole possession of first place in the Junior B loop at 5-1.
An Okotoks win on Thanksgiving Sunday looked about as likely as leftover stuffing midway through the contest. Powerplay goals from Blake Bishop and Chris Williams gave the North Division’s Thrashers a 2-0 advantage early in the middle frame. Tom Vanderlinde’s breakaway tally with seven minutes left in the period gave the upstart visitors a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead.
The three-time defending league champions had other ideas.
Matt Howatt’s booming one-timer from the point on a five-on-three powerplay ignited the Bisons with 3:45 left in the second period.
“We had all veterans out there so we said work it down low, play it around and get them deep and then put it back out top and get a shot from the point,” Howatt said. “And it worked out.”
Ninety-two seconds later the Bisons found themselves down by just one. After Dylan Boyd worked the puck into the zone, Ayoungman skated out of the half-boards and roofed it for his first tally with the Bisons.
Sporting their new navy-blue and red uniforms, the Bisons struggled to mount sustained offence for much of the third period. Their relentless pursuit of a comeback came to fruition with just 3:18 remaining when Michael Savage’s point-shot bounced in front for a juicy rebound for Mark McLeod to tap home, setting the stage for Okotoks’ last gasp heroics.
Brayden Engel made 29 saves to pick up his first victory of the season.
“It’s a really big win. This was for first in the league so it’s good to be back on top where we were last year,” Howatt said. “We know we can’t walk all over every team, we’re going to have work hard.”
The Bisons held on for an identical 4-3 scoreline on Friday over the host Airdrie Thunder.
Goals from McLeod, Darren Bordt, a pair from Kevan Mikkelsen and a 32-save performance from Alex Bilton ensured two points for the visitors.
Okotoks will look to continue its modest four-game winning streak on home ice as it hosts the Blackfalds Wranglers on Oct. 18. Puck drop is 8 p.m. at Murray Arena.
For more information on the Bisons visit okotoksbisons.com