The Okotoks Oilers aren’t slowing down anytime soon.
Okotoks (42-6-2) matched its franchise consecutive wins record established eight seasons ago at 14 with a pair of victories over the visiting Sherwood Park Crusaders and Whitecourt Wolverines.
The green-and-gold hasn’t dropped a result in the new year, last falling in its Dec. 29 tilt to Drumheller.
“It has been special. The guys have responded well to the loss,” said Oilers rookie forward Marc Pasemko. “Everyone hates losing to Drumheller and I just think that losing to Drumheller was the tipping point that we don’t want to have that feeling ever again.”
Captain Carter Huber made sure they did just that on Sunday.
The Calgarian scored with two seconds left in overtime, his second of the game, as Okotoks completed a 5-4 comeback over the Wolverines on Super Bowl Sunday.
Rookie Zane Kindrachuk scored the tying goal late in the final frame while defenceman Kylor Wall provided two goals from the back-end.
Riley Morris made 23 saves for his 23rd win of the season on the date of his 21st birthday.
Okotoks held on for a 4-3 triumph over Sherwood Park the night prior.
After Regan Doig opened the scoring in the opening frame, the Crusaders would prove to be a tough out in a wild middle stanza.
Sherwood Park found itself in front on goals from Tyson Gruninger and William Zapernick after a pair of uncharacteristic Oiler miscues in the defensive zone.
Compounding matters, Okotoks defenceman Carson Beers was handed a five-minute major and game misconduct for a blow to the head on Gruninger. The hit resulted in a four-game suspension for the Oilers all time games played leader.
Undaunted, the Oilers responded to the adversity by taking the period over.
“That second period was really weird, just lots of bad breaks for us,” said Pasemko. “Beers getting kicked out, that wasn’t ideal, but we killed it off, played well and just battled hard.”
Tanner Laderoute was awarded a goal after a lengthy review and 48 seconds later Pasemko got on the end of a terrific stretch pass from Morris, gathered the puck on a breakaway and hammered in his sixth goal of the season.
“I just stepped on the ice, didn’t know where the puck was going to and it landed on my stick,” Pasemko said. “I skated in and took the hardest shot I could. (Head coach Tyler Deis) is always saying slapshots are our hardest shots so I thought I would take one.”
Laderoute added his second of the night, 27th of the season, on a deflection in front of goal with 4:04 left in regulation. The visitors got one back with the extra-attacker as Brandon Wallis found the back of the net, leading to a nervy finish with 68 seconds on the clock.
Morris ragged the puck and cleared the zone to kill the final eight seconds and personally see out his 26-save performance.
A quiet week on the ice sees the Oilers suit up just once in a home date with the Grande Prairie Storm on Feb. 9 at Pason Centennial Arena.
For more information go to okotoksoilers.ca
By the Numbers
The Oilers are zeroing in on the franchise record for wins in a season, 45, established in the 2007-08 campaign. The green-and-gold need just four wins in their final 10 games to eclipse that mark … The magic number is 11 for the Okotoks Oilers. If Okotoks picks up a minimum of 11 points in its final 10 games the team will take the South Division top seed, regardless of how the second-seed Brooks Bandits finish their season … Laderoute extended his points streak to a league leading 12 games. The alternate captain has 20 points during the run and sits fifth in the AJHL with 59 points.