Streak hits 20 as Oilers clinch first overall
Hockey: Okotoks clips Olds 5-1 to lock down top spot in the AJHL
Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 06:00 am
In a season of firsts the Okotoks Oilers guaranteed that’s where they’ll finish.
For the first time in team history the Oilers (48-6-2) clinched first overall in the Alberta Junior Hockey League on Friday following a 5-1 victory over Olds and some help on the out of town scoreboard.
“It’s huge and obviously a goal the team has for the beginning of the year,” said Oilers captain Carter Huber. “It’s something we’ve worked towards all year and I feel like we’ve just become better and better as the season has gone on.
“To clinch that is a big accomplishment.”
The combination of Okotoks’ runaway triumph and the Spruce Grove Saints loss in Drumheller locked down the number one overall seed and home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Oilers took care of business in dispatching the bottom seed Grizzlys behind goals from Huber, Regan Doig, Tanner Laderoute, Kyle Gordon and defenceman Jacob Bernard-Docker.
Freshman netminder Ben Howard made 22 saves for his 22nd win of the season.
“We have a room that comes to practice every day willing to get better and I don’t think we’re surprising ourselves anymore,” Bernard-Docker said. “We come in every day knowing we’re capable of winning and it’s just a matter of executing.”
The green and gold has been nothing short of dominant during the 20-game run, averaging over five-goals per game over the past two months.
“When you hit 20 you’ve had a bit of luck in there,” Bernard-Docker said. “Maybe there are some games in there we squeaked out that maybe we shouldn’t have won, but credit to our goalies for bailing us out when we’re not on our A-game.”
The 20-game streak is tied for the second longest single season mark in league history with the 2011-12 Brooks Bandits.
Already boasting the best record in team history, if the Oilers win out they would tie for the second most wins in the AJHL (52) since it adopted the 60 game format.
“At this point in the season every game means something,” said Oilers rookie forward Ben Sanderson. “We’re breaking records all the time, we don’t need to look around for motivation too much. It’s all pretty exciting.”
There could be a few more notches on their belt soon.
The Oilers wrap up the weekend on the road to battle the Camrose Kodiaks on Sunday. A win versus the Kods would match the AJHL single season consecutive wins mark at 21. That Calgary Canucks established that number in 1988 and it has stood for 30 years.
For more information go to okotoksoilers.ca