Bow Mark Oilers finally eclipsed
Hockey: Okotoks drops first game of the season in marquee matchup
Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 06:00 am
All good things must come to an end.
The Okotoks Bow Mark Oilers six-game unbeaten run to start their inaugural season in the Alberta Midget ‘AAA’ Hockey League was finally snapped on Saturday when the undefeated Calgary Buffaloes skated to a 7-3 triumph at Pason Centennial Arena.
“We knew we weren’t going to win every game this year and it’s a good learning curve,” said Bow Mark head coach Kevin Willison. “Early in the season, the Buffs are a good team and we know that, we knew that coming in and we’re going to take the positives from it.”
One such affirmation was the Bow Mark offence putting three on the board against a Buffs squad that entered the contest having allowed just four all season through six games.
In a battle of the final two undefeated teams in the province, the Buffs drew first blood as captain Sam Anderson scored on the first shot of the game less than a minute from puck-drop.
Cameron Sterling and Layne Sniher made it a three-goal advantage in short order before Okotoks’ Hunter Maximnuk tipped in a powerplay marker for the hosts late in the opening frame.
“It’s definitely a learning point for the boys. There is a lot to take out of a loss,” said Oilers forward Tyson Laduke. “They’re a good team and we need to stop looking at the standings and focus on our game only and need to start being more positive on our side.”
Okotoks bounced back in the middle frame and out-shot the visitors by an 11-9 count, but found itself down by a 6-2 margin.
Laduke scored late in the period after being teed up by linemate Jackson Kobelka on the man advantage.
Despite the lopsided scoreline Okotoks closed every period with its best hockey of the game.
“It’s more coming off the bench and all the boys patting each other’s backs and just staying positive,” Laduke said. “Yes, there is a little negativity, but it’s just we’re caring and motivating each other that we get back, we bounce back like that.”
Affiliate netminder Gage Alexander, who’s off to a roaring start along with the rest of his Rockyview M-15 Raiders teammates, took over in the final frame and looked strong in stopping 12 of 13 shots.
Defenceman Kelton Travis added the Oilers third tally, joining the rush and firing the puck off a Calgary defender into the goal.
“We probably gave them four or five goals just from a lack of being interested in the play,” Willison said. “We weren’t soft, but we weren’t really engaged. We didn’t compete at times and gave up some pretty easy goals.
“I think we gave them way too much respect and it ended up costing us. We’ve got to be mentally tough and prepared to play good teams like that. We have to be engaged and we have to be a pack.”
The Oilers made it two straight losses in dropping a 5-3 decision to the Lloydminster Bobcats on Sunday.
Maximnuk, Laduke and Jaevon Buschlen scored in a losing cause while Gibb Coady chipped in with three assists.
Okotoks (4-2-2) is fifth in the South Division, where the balance of power lies in the province, behind the Buffs, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Calgary Northstars and Calgary Royals.
The Oilers welcome the Red Deer Chiefs to Pason Centennial Arena on Oct. 28 at 3:45 p.m. followed by a road date on Oct. 29 in Lethbridge.
For full schedule information go to amhl.ab.ca