New look Oilers blank Thunder
Hockey: Okotoks dominant in 4-0 shutout of Drayton Valley
Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 06:00 am
Ugly wins count just the same as works of art in the standings.
The Okotoks Jr. A Oilers earned their first win of the new year on home ice and first shutout of the season in blanking the Drayton Valley Thunder 4-0, Saturday night at Pason Centennial Arena.
“There were some good signs and offensively we generated some good (chances), but we kind of looked like we were a new group out there,” said Oilers head coach James Poole. “We messed around with some combinations and I thought we looked out of sorts at times and a little bit scrambly.
“It was a bit of an ugly hockey game, but good to get the win and it’s nice to have a full week of practice to get everyone on the same page.”
With trade deadline acquisitions Derek Thorogood and Stefan Burzan making their Oilers debut on Saturday, it was a familiar face to Okotoks fans at the centre of the attack.
Winger Ty Clay scored twice in three minutes to stake the hosts to an early 2-0 lead on a Drayton Valley team on something of a roll as winners of four of six entering the contest.
“It was just a shot from the point and I had about three or four whacks at it,” said Clay of his first-goal, snapping a five-game scoreless streak. “It went into his pad a couple times and I finally got lucky and it went in.”
The hard-nosed forward doubled his money shortly thereafter when linemate Rhett Gardner served up a tasty dish for Clay to tap-in past outstretched Thunder netminder Marc Olivier Daigle. The Oilers took firm control of the contest with a pair of tallies in the first four minutes of the middle frame. Captain Robbie Fisher collected a loose puck on a turnover at centre ice and streaked in on the right wing before finding the back of the net for his 12th goal of the season.
John Edwardh would then add his team leading 21st marker, to bookend a three-goal game from the Oilers’ line of Edwardh, Gardner and Clay.
“We stuck to what we’re good at, we got it out of our zone, worked hard and cycled it down low,” said Clay on the line’s dominance. “That’s what we feed off as a line.”
Okotoks netminder Jared D’Amico turned aside 29 shots, including 14 in a busy third period, to post the Oilers’ first shutout of the season behind a strong defensive effort from the hosts.
“Basically it was just keeping it simple and getting that puck out off the glass, get it out of the house, out of the middle,” said Oilers defenceman Drew Weich.
“To play safe and not make too many mistakes.”
Pack the Rink
The Oilers’ annual pack the rink night is Jan. 18 when the first-place Brooks Bandits mosey on down to Pason Centennial Arena. On Friday, the Oilers play host to the surging Camrose Kodiaks, who sit just three points back of Okotoks in the crowded South Division standings. Both games are 7 p.m. puck-drops.
“Those are my favourite games. I know everyone gets up to play Camrose with all the trades that have happened,” Weich said. “Everyone gets up for Brooks, especially with that series we had last year. We want to beat them.
“We’ve beat them four times already (this season) and we want to make it a fifth time.”
The second-year blueliner fondly remembers the packed house at Pason during last year’s unforgettable seven-game series in the South final with the Bandits.
“It’s huge. You feed off the energy and even if you’re down a goal the crowd is still going,” Weich said. “It will be like a playoff series. We need the crowd going for that night. It’s going to be a big game.”