The Okotoks Bisons first trip to the losing column appears to be just a blip in the radar.
Okotoks bounced back from its first defeat of the season last weekend to pick up a pair of comprehensive victories over the High River Flyers and Rocky Rams to improve to 22-1-0 in the Heritage Junior Hockey League.
“I think the focus was to make sure that in this league anyone can beat anyone,” said Bisons forward Nic Jordan. “We really want to stay humbled and not take anything for granted and I think the big voice was to get back to it, get back to the simple things, hard work and let’s start another streak right into the playoffs.”
The Bisons got back into their winning ways by blanking the Flyers 4-0 on Nov. 29 in High River.
“We wanted to come out to a good start. We knew that goaltender (Parker Sawka) is very good,” said Bisons head coach Chris Beston. “We knew we needed to get shots and traffic on him and it was just a good team effort.
“All four lines were rolling and I didn’t hesitate to put any line out at any time.”
Devin Reagan made 28 saves for the shutout while Tyson Scott, Tyler Witzke and Austin O’Bray scored in the first period with Tyler Alger adding a second period marker for the visitors.
“I think we were mentally really good,” said Bisons forward Devyn Stewart. “We didn’t let whatever they were doing affect our game, we stuck to our core and outskated them and hit them.
“That’s the thing we need to do the most is just continue with our playing style rather than trying to change it up for different teams. I think we just need to control the game from the first puck-drop.”
Okotoks closed the weekend with an offensive explosion in the 12-3 win over the visiting Rams, the expansion squad making its first trip to the Murray Arena.
After volunteering to serve a 5-minute major when Brennan Schwark was handed a game misconduct for a high hit in the opening minutes, Jordan made his presence immediately felt with two goals in 24 seconds.
“I just made a play around the net and tucked that one in,” said Jordan. “And then the second one was just a good breakout. We came flying out of the zone, just like we practice on the odd-man rush. I cut high man slot and just ripped it over his glove.
“I’d like to say it’s more luck, but it’s good to see them go in once in a while.”
Just 26 seconds later league-leading sniper Tyson Scott scored his first of four goals on the night, this one on the man-advantage.
Scott scored again on the backdoor three minutes later and defenceman Mitch Wolfe completed the first-period scoring with his first goal of the campaign.
Scott added two more in the middle frame, Riker Franczak, Evan Woods and Dylan Wenzel scored. Stewart added two goals in 29 seconds in the final frame to round out the scoring.
“(The loss) kind of brought us back down to earth to get back at her and start working again,” Beston said. “We haven’t had a lot of practices in the last three weeks. We had one this week, a good one.”
Some off-ice activity in the form of a team bonding session at Orange Theory Fitness along with a well-structured practice paid dividends during game action for the herd.
“We had Orange Theory last Sunday and that was something we should definitely implement more often,” Stewart said. “It’s a harder workout that actually shows the guys a little more drive and pushes us and I think that was a big key.
“Practice on Thursday was really good too and that’s a huge thing. We were starting to get a little lazy in our practices. It was getting knocked down a little bit to be able to get back to our basics and rebuild.”
This weekend, the Bisons are home to the Mountainview Colts on Dec. 6 and travel to Strathmore to tango with the Wheatland Kings on Dec. 8.
For more information go to okotoksbisons.com