Oilers stand pat on deadline day
Hockey: Number three ranked Okotoks avoids making moves
Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 06:00 am
The Okotoks Oilers got the ultimate vote of confidence.
Despite a flurry of activity around the province which saw top contenders bolster their lineups the top team in the Alberta Junior Hockey League stood pat on the Jan. 10 deadline day.
“With our staff here we made a decision that if something landed on our lap that could make our team better then we would,” said Oilers head coach/GM Tyler Deis. “But we weren’t in a panic to do something. We’re doing pretty well this year and we don’t want to stir too much up.
“We just didn’t want to ruffle any feathers or make any rash decisions on trying to just find a player.”
In the North, the top-seed Fort McMurray Oil Barons added Canmore Eagles captain Coy Prevost to its forward ranks while the second-seed Spruce Grove Saints landed Olds Grizzlys sniper Chase Olsen.
It was quiet on the Southern front.
The Brooks Bandits have completely revamped their roster from the start of the season, but didn’t wait for the deadline to make its transformation. The Calgary Mustangs made perhaps the biggest addition on deadline day in acquiring Ryley Smyth who was playing at a point-per-game clip with Whitecourt.
Deis said the team wasn’t close to making any deals, adding the asking price was too high.
“There were little things out there,” Deis said. “But with the price that had to be paid we didn’t feel like it was worth it.”
Particularly given the play of the green-and-gold.
Okotoks has been remarkably consistent in 2017-18, leading the South Division standings all season and avoiding any prolonged droughts with just six regulation losses to date.
“This group comes to work every day and works hard, they’ve got a great attitude and it has been super positive,” the coach added. “When you have that in your dressing room it makes it a lot easier.
“One of the things we’re really emphasizing this year is if we do lose a game how we rebound from that loss. The guys have responded well.”
Riley Morris put himself in the record books as Okotoks got the better of a divisional foe.
Morris made 33 saves for his ninth-career shutout tying Brad Eidsness for the franchise record as the Oilers dispatched the Drumheller Dragons 5-0 on the road on Friday.
Quinn Olson led the offensive attack with a goal and two assists while Zane Kindrachuk, Kyle Gordon, Austin Wong and Carter Huber also lit the lamp.
Okotoks (33-6-2) was home to the Calgary Mustangs on Jan. 16, after the Wheel’s press time.
The Oilers continue the homestand with back-to-back dates versus the Calgary Canucks and Drumheller on Jan. 19-20, respectively, and travel to Banff for a rare date in the picturesque town versus the Canmore Eagles on Jan. 23.
For more information go to okotoksoilers.ca