Copyright TG Storey
I didn’t see the Division leading Okotoks Oilers descend from their bus into the Olds Sportsplex parking lot, perhaps all citified, with a superior Calgary suburbs attitude. I didn’t hear maybe one of them remark that the yokels in this prairie burg don’t even plow their side streets. But I imagined it.
So maybe I stood with fists clenched in rage as the league leading Okotoks Oilers smugly took to the ice at the Olds Sportsplex, thinking to themselves that they were going to walk over the Leagues’ last place Olds Grizzlys, and rub our faces in it, us yokels who don’t plow our side streets. The nerve of it!
But rub our faces in it they did, at least for one period. They scored two unanswered goals, and outshot the Grizzlys 11 – 5. Oh, the shame, the unfairness of it.
Those disheartened Grizzlys fans who were able to lift their heads to watch, would have seen the Oilers, Zane Kindrachuck, assisted by two of his team mates, pop a partially screened shot high into the Grizzlys’ net, at 4:29, beating goalie, Henderson, on his stick side. The goal played out this way:
Oilers # 26 Defenceman, Hoon KIM, acquired the puck on the left wing in the Center Ice zone. He moved it up the ice along the boards to the Grizzlys blue line. Blocked by an Olds player, Kim passed the puck to his right, to Oilers Forward # 11, Quinn OLSON, who was crossing the Olds blue line into the top of the slot.
Olson makes a very smart move. As he progresses down the slot towards the Grizzlys’ goal he finds himself blocked by an Olds defenceman, positioned between him and the net. So Olson makes a right turn and heads toward the right wing faceoff circle in the Grizzlys end.
At the same time, Okotoks forward # 12, KINDRACHUCK, who had been at the top of that faceoff circle, starts moving towards the center of the slot. Olson passes the puck to him. Kindrachuk moves closer to the Grizzlys’ net and unleashes a quick wrist shot from the hash marks on the right wing faceoff circle.
The shot looks to be screened by an Olds defenceman, who tries to block it. The puck whistles by Grizzlys goal tender, Henderson on the stick side a couple of feet off the ice. The condescending Oilers are on the score board, 1 – 0.
At 13:52, the Oilers get their second goal of the period. An Okotoks Forward moves the puck from the left wing boards into the corner, almost behind the Olds net. From there he passes to team mate, Blake WELLS, who is waiting in the slot.
Wells moves the puck to the right side of the slot, near the hash marks on the right wing faceoff circle. From a tight angle he backhands a close in shot on net. Olds goal tender, Henderson, is in mid crease. He sees the play and is ready to make the save.
But behind and to the right of Henderson, Oilers Forward # 17, Regan DOIG, has taken up position at the goal post. He catches a piece of Wells’ backhand and deflects it into the net. The Oilers are ahead 2 – 0.
And that was the score at the Period’s end.
Did I hear laughter coming from the Okotoks dressing room between periods?
For the first five minutes of the Second Period it was Olds goal tender, Andrew Henderson, who kept his team in the game. He made save after save as the Oilers outshot the Grizzlys by a ratio of almost two to one.
Then, at 5:32, Jared Power scored for Olds with a screened wrist shot from the top of the left wing face- off circle in the Oilers end. It was an unorthodox and interesting setup that went like this:
Olds Defenceman # 3 Austin Pickford gets control of the puck on the left wing in the Grizzlys’ end. He passes it forward to Forward Jared Power who is against the left wing boards at the center line.
Power deflects the puck a couple of meters to his right to Grizzlys Forward, Owen Guenter.
Guenter advances the puck over the Oilers blue line and then drops the puck back to Jared Power.
Power moves forward with the puck to the top of the left wing face of circle where he lets fly a beautiful wrist shot. The shot appears to be at least partially screened by an Oilers defender who is crouching to block it.
The puck beats the Oilers goalie, whizzing over his left shoulder, and into the net.
Whoohoo, the Grizzlys are on the scoreboard. It’s 2 – 1 for Okotoks. Shots on goal are 16 to 7 in favor of the Oilers.
A couple of minutes later, fate smiles on the Grizzlys. An oilers player takes a penalty for tripping. Olds has a power play opportunity.
It turned out to be an unusual power play. Part way through it, Oilers Forward, Beers, dropped Grizzlys player, Jared Power, with a deliberate elbow to the head. Olds Defenceman, Austin Pickford, took exception and delivered some corrective measures on Beers of the pugilistic variety.
Beers was penalized 2 minutes for the head shot. Pickford got a 5 minute misconduct for fighting and an additional 2 minutes as instigator. The result was that Olds would have a 54 second man advantage, playing 4 attackers vs the Oilers 3. What can come of a situation like this?
A goal is what came of it. At 8:52 Quentin Greenwood does the job for Olds, assisted by Hayden Struik. Here is how I saw it.
Grizzlys’ Defenseman # 4, Jared Bowman is occupying the top of the right wing faceoff circle in the Oilers end. Defenseman # 24, Hayden Struik is at the top of the left wing faceoff circle.
Bowman passes the puck to Struik. Struik wrists it wide of the Oilers net.
The puck rebounds off the boards to # 14 Forward, Quentin Greenwood who is parked at the goal post on the Okotoks goalie’s right side. Greenwood flips the puck over the goal tender’s stick and into the net. The game is tied 2 – 2. Shots on goal stand at 16 – 7 in favor of Okotoks.
Play continues hard and fast throughout the Second Period, but the score remains tied. It is a cliff hanger of a hockey game going into the Third Period.
The play in the Third Period continued fast and intense. Shots on net were about even at 8 – 7 in favor of Okotoks. Twelve penalty minutes were awarded for 6 different infractions. Amazingly, the score remained tied 2 – 2. The game goes to overtime.
Ah yes, Overtime. Sudden death. Three on three play where the first goal takes the game.
And the first goal was scored by Okotoks. Oilers #24 Defenseman, Bernard-Docker, circled behind the Olds net with the puck and was able to stuff it in a wide open left wing side. The reason? The Olds goal tender had collided with another Okotoks player at the right wing side of the net was being physically held down by virtue of that collision.
Okotoks figured it had won the game and many of its players left the ice. But the officials ruled it to be NO GOAL. You can’t hold the goal tender down to enable another of your team to put the puck in an undefended net.
While no penalty was awarded to Okotoks for goal tender interference, play resumed for the remainder of the 5 minute Overtime Period. At the end of it, Okotoks had achieved two shots on goal to the Grizzlys’ none. The score remained tied 2 – 2. The game is going to a Shoot Out.
THE SHOOT OUT
In the first round of the Shoot Out, shooters from both teams failed to score.
In the second round Blake Wells scores for the Oilers. Josh Borynec, Olds’ next appointed shooter, must now score for the Grizzlys or the game is over.
It was a tantalizing thing to watch. The audience was holding its breath and Borynec appeared to saunter down the ice towards the Oilers net, taking his time. He played with the puck, as he moved it slowly along, over to the right side of the slot, to the hash marks of the right wing faceoff circle. Then, in a split second, he fired a wrist shot that beat the Oilers goalie on the stick side.
The score in the Shoot Out is 1 – 1. Olds is still in the game.
Henderson makes a nice save on the Okotoks third shooter. Now, can # 17 Jared Power score for Olds?
Power picks up the puck at center ice. He moves up the right wing into the faceoff circle. Then he makes a left turn, across the front of the net, and delivers a wrist shot that beats the goalie on the stick side. SCORE! SCORE!
Olds Grizzlys, last place in their league, have beaten the league leading Okotoks Oilers. Greased them with a slick, close in, wrist shot.
After a multiple game losing streak, a renewed Olds Grizzlys team, infused with some new players, has won two games straight on home ice.
The season has just become a lot more interesting for this surprising Olds hockey team. Can’t wait to see what they do next.
WAY TO GO GRIZZLYS.