Bow Mark Oilers find home form in weekend sweep


The Okotoks Bow Mark Oilers doubled down on home victories for the first time this season.

Okotoks pulled off its first weekend sweep at Pason Centennial Arena with consecutive victories over northern foes on the heels of its worst week of the campaign in the Alberta Midget ‘AAA’ Hockey League.

“We had to keep it simple and play to our strengths, last weekend we lost because we started running around,” said Oilers defenceman Connor Bertamini. “We knew if we stick to our systems we will win games.

“Wins at home are so huge in this league because your confidence is there. We need wins here.”

Those have been hard to come by.

Okotoks had won just two of its first seven games at the Pason entering the weekend compared to a sparkling road record of six wins and two ties.

“The games we play well in, we get there and prepare. When we’re not preparing well before the games that’s when we lose,” Bertamini said. “Those losses at home we weren’t prepared. On the road you have that time on the bus before you get to the rink to think with yourself.”

They brought the road form home with them this weekend.

Bow Mark paved the way for the four-point week by dispatching the MLAC Beverly Optimists 4-1 on Saturday evening.

Captain Joel Krahenbil led the way with a two-goal effort while Jaevon Buschlen and defenceman Tyler Strath also found the back of the net.

Affiliate netminder Gage Alexander from the M15 Rockyview Raiders earned the call-up and 23 saves to pick his first win in the AMHL.

“You’ve got to make it tough for teams to come into your own barn,” said Bow Mark Oilers head coach Kevin Willison. “Like any sport at home there is a little more distraction maybe trying to show something to somebody in the stands. They’re young guys and they’re learning.

“The effort this weekend was pretty good.”

Okotoks made it two wins in as many days by outlasting the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers 2-1 on Sunday.

“We moved the puck well and when we had pressure we consistently had it,” Bertamini said. “When we had our little breaks we worked hard to keep it out of our zone and try to transition to the forwards and get it into their zone.”

Buschlen got the hosts on the board late in the opening frame after he found a loose puck in the neutral zone, coasted in and made no mistake on the breakaway.

Gibb Coady notched the game-winner in the second period after he quickly collected a rebound in the slot and fired in his team leading ninth goal of the campaign.

Ty Tarvyd made 29 saves to pick up his sixth win of the season.

“I think it was second and third efforts,” Willison said. “The guys dug deep, worked hard and did what we had to do to keep them off the scoresheet. Ty was good in between the pipes when he needed to be.”

The Oilers stay on home ice for their next match-up a Dec. 2 date with the SSAC Athletics. Puck-drop is 6:30 p.m. Okotoks closes the weekend in its first clash of the season with the Calgary Northstars at Calgary’s Max Bell Centre on Dec. 3.

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