The post-holiday return to play has seen a bit of everything from the Okotoks Oilers.
The Oilers (17-19-2) took three of a possible six points from a busy three games in four days stretch from Dec. 31 to Jan. 3 bookended by a 5-1 loss to the Camrose Kodiaks at Pason Centennial Arena in the Alberta Junior Hockey League South Division clash.
“We played pretty well the whole game, it’s just the little details we’ve got to get better at,” said Oilers head coach Tyler Deis. “They scored goals that we weren’t dialed in on.
“With the point shots, we talked to them and said ‘We’ve got to make sure we take their time and space out on the points away and a couple times we didn’t, and they scored on them.”
In the Jan. 3 tilt, Oilers sniper Rieger Lorenz opened the scoring with his team-leading 26th goal and 60th point of the season in the first period.
The Kodiaks took the lead into the final frame through second period goals off the sticks of Callum Gau and Sam Schoenfeld and added three more in the final stanza on Robert Kincaid, Owen Dean and Carson Whyte tallies.
Despite the busy workload for Okotoks, it wasn’t a case of fatigue more so small margins, the coach added.
“I thought they had a lot of legs, I thought they had a lot of energy,” he said. “And I thought they competed pretty well and it was just those small details that kind of handcuffed us.”
Okotoks began 2022 by picking up a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Eagles on Jan. 1 in Canmore.
Eagles forward Kayden Smith scored just 52 seconds into the extra session to break the 2-2 deadlock. The Oilers got on the board through a shorthanded Brendan Boyle tally and via Nolan Flint at even-strength.
To open the weekend, Okotoks produced its biggest win of the season in the final day of the calendar year with a 10-0 blowout over the Calgary Canucks at the Max Bell Centre on New Year’s Eve.
Jack McNaughton turned aside all 20 shots he faced to register his third shutout and sixth win in his first 11 starts since joining the squad.
“I’ve liked the way these guys have come back (from the holidays), they seem like they’re dialed in,” Deis said. “We’ve just got to make sure we’re a little bit better on the fine details.”
Lorenz notched his second hat-trick of the campaign, Bowden Singleton scored twice while Flint, Conyr Hellyer, Dean Spak, Kade Turner and Austin Reschny found the back of the net as seven skaters recorded multi-point efforts in the matinee.
The 2004-born Lorenz ranks fourth in the AJHL with 60 points in 38 games.
“He comes to play every game,” said Deis of the forward. “He works, he’s always ready to go and that’s probably the main thing.”
The Oilers get another shot at the Eagles this week as part of a two-game homestand with Canmore and Brooks visiting Pason Centennial Arena on Jan. 7-8.
For more information go to okotoksoilers.ca.