Harry hat-trick keeps Bisons streak alive
Hockey: Okotoks survives scare to edge High River 5-2
Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 06:00 am
So much for the sophomore slump.
Okotoks Jr. B Bisons reigning rookie of the year Kyle Harrison continued to take his game to the next level in year two netting his second hat-trick of the young season on Sunday to lead his squad past the High River Flyers 5-2 at the Murray Arena in the first battle of the Foothills of the 2017-18 season.
“Coming in as a second year it’s only natural I’m a little more confident with and without the puck,” said Harrison. “I can’t give enough credit to (Nicholas) Murrell and Robbie McLean, playing with those two they just make my life easy. As long as they go and crash bodies I know the puck is coming to me.”
The dynamic trio didn’t waste any time making an imprint on Sunday.
Harrison knocked in his first of three on the afternoon just 1:37 into the opening period and repeated the feat early in the second stanza to make it a two-goal advantage.
McLean buried a rebound on the powerplay midway through the period to seemingly put the game out of reach.
Someone forget to tell the Flyers.
High River, enjoying a strong start to the 2017-18 campaign, chipped away less than two minutes later as Mason Mazur was one the receiving end of an Evan Pakkala cross-crease pass to cut the deficit and set the stage for a nervy final frame.
“We struggle with that and sometimes play a game like we’re up 10-0 instead of a two goals,” Harrison added. “3-1 is the worst lead in hockey and you’re going into the third with that and we knew they were going to come back hard and tried to counter it as best we could.”
The Flyers had the Bisons on their heels for the first half of the period, forcing the hosts to ice their way out of trouble.
Okotokian Joel Nalder further increased the pressure with his second goal of the season for the Flyers, pinching in from the rush and beating Okotoks’ Devin Reagan in goal.
“We started slow and they’re a good team and when they get on a roll they just go,” said Bisons forward Kody Briggs. “They just came out hard and we weren’t ready for it and squeaked out a win.”
Needing a jolt the Bisons went back to the well.
Harrison took a drop pass from McLean and absolutely wired a snap-shot far corner to complete the hat-trick and ground the Flyers surge.
Briggs added a late insurance marker after captain Josh McCulloch went hard to the net and created the rebound for the former member of the opposition.
“You’ve played with all those guys the last couple years and know them well,” said Briggs, a two-year member of the Flyers prior to this season. “It’s weird going out there and playing against them. I want to win, you’ve got to be competitive and beat the other team, friends or not.”
Reagan stopped 24 of 26 shots to improve to 6-0 on the season.
Okotoks opened the weekend in outlasting the Strathmore Wheatland Kings in a 7-5 barnburner, Friday at the Murray.
Harrison had two goals and five points, linemates Murrell and McLean chipped in with two-goal, three-point efforts and Tyler Rohl added the other marker in the win.
Netminder Matt McDonald made 43 saves for his first win of the season.
Harrison earned HJHL player of the week honours with eight points in two games.
The Calgarian is seventh in league scoring with 10 goals and 16 points.
“We’re just playing as a team,” Briggs said. “Everyone is working hard, doing their jobs and that’s all it comes down to.”
Okotoks’ winning streak now sits at four games. They will need to bring it away from home-ice to extend the run as the herd hits the road for dates in Didsbury to battle the Mountainview Colts and Medicine Hat to tackle the Cubs, Oct. 27-28, respectively.
The Bisons’ next home date is Nov. 3 against Blackfalds.
For more information go to okotoksbisons.com