Bisons blitz overmatched Stampeders
Hockey: Okotoks outscores opponents 12-0 in dominant weekend
Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 06:00 am
The best defence was a good offence for the Okotoks Bisons last weekend.
The Jr. B Bisons did not allow a goal in a dominant two-game set after shutting out the host Stettler Lightning 4-0 on Saturday and blitzing the Ponoka Stampeders by an 8-0 count on Sunday in Okotoks.
After being held to a one-goal lead after 20 minutes on Sunday, the Bisons took control with a five-goal middle frame en route to the eight-goal rout.
“We were focusing on trying to net let them take our momentum from that first period and knowing that if we keep doing what we’re doing the goals would definitely come,” said Bisons forward Spencer Barlow-Lakusta. “The keys were trying not to be selfish and trying to keep it a simple game and knowing that if we throw our body they’ll back off just that tiny bit.”
Barlow-Lakusta opened the scoring six minutes into the contest when he tipped in a point shot from Matt Howatt on the powerplay.
Okotoks added two goals in less than in a minute through Phil Dillon and a diving effort from Mark McLeod. Barlow-Lakusta added his second after showing some agility to evade a Stampeder and determination to crash the net and bang in a rebound.
Linemate Josh Haley got in on the act with a powerplay marker and a breakaway tally to close out the period. The 20-year-old forward would complete the natural hat-trick on the man-advantage early in the third period. The Haley, Barlow-Lakusta and Zak Johns line contributed five goals on the afternoon and have been among the top contributors on the squad since being formed as a unit three games ago.
“It just kind of matches together. Haley is a big body and he can finish very well and Johnsy can feed anybody, put it perfectly on their stick,” said Barlow-Lakusta on the dynamics of the line. “I like to think I can move my feet out there and other than that it’s just putting it all together and working on our set plays.
“When you get a game like this it just kind of forms together.”
Okotokian Dylan Boyd put the finishing touches on the eight-goal victory by picking up his first goal of the season to ring in his 20th birthday in style.
“We had a good play. (Darren) Bordt went through and I just walked in behind, made a little move and put it upstairs,” Boyd said. “That’s the first of the season, little bit of a slump, so it feels good to get that monkey off my back.
“We know they had a pretty strong goalie so we just wanted to throw pucks on net.”
At the other end of the ice, Brayden Engel stopped all 28 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season.
Less than 24 hours earlier, the Bisons escaped Stettler with a convincing four-goal victory on goals from Barlow-Lakusta, Haley, Kevan Mikkelsen and Johns and a 32-save shutout from Bilton.
“We finalized our roster on the weekend so we’ve got lots of depth, all four lines played well, 60 minutes hard and we just came out on top,” said Boyd, on the win to avenge a 6-5 loss to the Lightning a month ago.
“It was good to steal the two points.”
After taking care of business against the North, the Bisons will now roll on down the highway for a three-day trip through the South Division. Okotoks is in Medicine Hat on Friday, Cochrane on Saturday and closes out its weekend schedule with a Sunday trip to picturesque Banff.
The Stampeders were playing with heavy hearts on Sunday following the sudden passing of alternate captain Damian Pannenbecker on Jan. 6.
Pannenbecker was killed in a two-vehicle accident on Highway 27 near Olds when his minivan crossed the middle line and collided with an oncoming SUV.
Ponoka, who on Sunday was playing its first game since the tragic death of Pannenbecker, cancelled its Jan. 11 date with the Coaldale Copperheads and held a celebration for the life of the 19-year-old Red Deer native on Saturday afternoon.
Bisons avoid cuts
The Okotoks Bisons’ brass was spared some impossible decisions on roster cut down day, Jan. 10, when a pair of blueliners opted to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
Defenceman Curtis Robinson signed on with a Swedish outfit and newcomer Keifer Schaufler moved to Ontario to play at the Junior A level. Their departure meant the Bisons did not have to cut any players from their existing roster.