Late heroics extends Bisons winning streak
Hockey: Okotoks wins fifth straight on last-minute goal
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 06:00 am
These Okotoks Junior B Bisons certainly have a flair for the dramatic.
Phil Dillon’s fourth goal of the contest with 34 seconds left secured a 6-5 win for the Junior B Bisons over the Blackfalds Wranglers Friday at Murray Arena, the second straight game Okotoks procured a last-minute win.
“We’ve had that drawn up play, it’s never worked before and we thought we would give it a go,” Dillon said on the game-winning marker. “(Bryce) Honish made a nice pass and I just put it on net and it trickled in.”
The youthful Bisons had their young legs going in a dominant first period. Okotoks jumped out to a 2-0 lead through 10 minutes on tallies from defenceman Matt Howatt and a powerplay marker from Dillon.
Then a terrific breakout pass from Kristian Ayoungman sprung the Bisons on a two-on-one in transition and Brooker Pretty Youngman found the far corner with a howitzer to make it a three-goal game.
Blackfalds got on the board on the man-advantage through Matthew Johnson’s screened shot from the point. Just 15 seconds later, Dillon restored the three-goal cushion when he was Johnny-on-the-spot for a rebound in the slot.
Okotoks carried a comfortable 4-1 lead through 20 minutes.
Perhaps too comfortable.
The Wranglers went on a 3-0 run in eight minutes of the middle stanza — through goals from Colten Southwich on the rush, Chance Abbott off a turnover and Trent Hermary on the powerplay — to swiftly turn a potential blowout into a 4-4 pick-em contest.
“We’re a young group in a learning phase, we thought we had the win, for sure,” Dillon said on the complacency in the second period. “We’ve had pretty good goaltending the last few games and thought we would ride it out and started to be too pretty and got away from being simple.”
Okotoks stopped the onslaught during four-on-four play when Howatt was stopped on a point-blank chance in front before the rebound bounced right to Dillon’s stick to cap the hat-trick for the rangy forward.
The resilient Wranglers, North Division champions in two of the past three seasons, evened the game at five when Jared Guilbault got around Okotoks blueliner Chris Couper and beat Alex Bilton five-hole.
Okotoks would get on the front foot in the final frame and peppered the Wranglers’ goal. Unfortunately, the Bisons were looking for glove in all the wrong places as Blackfalds’ Conner Zenchuk’s catching mitt stymied the hosts time after time before Dillon’s last minute breakthrough.
“A lot of our shots were from the outside, without a lot of rebounds or traffic. We knew what we had to do to get in there and that’s how we finally scored,” said Bisons captain Michael Savage.
“When they came back from that lead we didn’t get down on each other, which I know from playing on past teams can kill you.
“We just kept playing, kept pushing and we got it.”
In other Junior B action, the High River Flyers opened up their home slate at the recently re-opened Bob Snodgrass Recplex with a 6-4 win over the Coaldale Copperheads.
The same venue will play host to a juicy revenge game for the Bisons this Friday in High River. Okotoks’ only blemish on a 6-1 record is its 6-2 loss to High River on Sept. 27.
“It’s always fun playing High River, especially when they celebrate like they’ve won the cup after the first game of the season,” Savage said. “They’ve done that the last couple years and we’ve comeback to prove them wrong.
“I’m excited to play and show them a different team.”
The foothills rivalry re-ignites at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Recplex.
For more information on the Bisons go to okotoksbisons.com