Late surge lifts Oilers to series split

Hockey: Okotoks scores three in final frame to beat Olds 3-1

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Friday, Mar 07, 2014 06:00 am

Okotoks Oilers forward Matt McNair (26) celebrates his game-winning goal with teammates Ambrose Firkus and John Edwardh during the Oilers' 3-1 win over the Olds Grizzlys in Game 2 of the opening round playoff clash. The series is locked up at 1-1.
Okotoks Oilers forward Matt McNair (26) celebrates his game-winning goal with teammates Ambrose Firkus and John Edwardh during the Oilers' 3-1 win over the Olds Grizzlys in Game 2 of the opening round playoff clash. The series is locked up at 1-1.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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Better late than never.

Matt McNair scored the game winner with 3:08 left as the Okotoks Oilers stormed back with three unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the Olds Grizzlys 3-1 on Friday at Pason Centennial Arena to salvage a 1-1 series split in the opening round best-of-five clash.

"I had a couple chances earlier and I just shot that one and it found a way in," said McNair, a first-year Oiler, on his tally. "It was pretty huge. I'm not much of a scorer so it feels pretty cool."

Coming off a disappointing loss in the series opener on Thursday, the Oilers came out playing desperate hockey in the crucial second game of Alberta Junior Hockey League South quarterfinals.

The ice was tilted in Okotoks' favour in the opening frame with the lion's share of the action taking place in the offensive zone, with little to show for it. Okotoks threatened on a point-blank shot from Ambrose Firkus and via an odd-man rush wrist shot from captain Robbie Fisher, but couldn't break through early on.

After Okotoks languished on a pair of second period powerplay chances, it earned its best scoring chance of the game at even strength when Ty Clay was robbed by goaltender Ethan Jemieff on a tremendous pad-save.

Moments later the Grizzlys would open the scoring against the run of play when rookie of the year Christopher Gerrie's cross-crease pass banked in off a sea of bodies and past a helpless Jared D'Amico in goal. Despite being out-shot 24-14, the visitors carried the one-goal advantage into the third period.

Okotoks came out firing in the final frame and finally the floodgates opened 2:45 in through Kyle Krabben who found a hole through a maze of bodies in front, setting the stage for McNair's late stage heroics and an empty-net tally from Connor Hartley to seal the result.

"I figure that's basically the turning point," McNair said of the win. "We've got the guys going now and we'll just keep rolling."

Game 3 is Sunday night in Olds with Game 4 to follow on Monday evening. If necessary, Game 5 would be Wednesday March 12 at Pason Centennial Arena in Okotoks.

For more information go to okotoksoilers.ca


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