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Kodiaks put Oilers on the ropes

A slow start has the Okotoks Oilers’ playoff hopes running out of time.
Okotoks Oiler Nolan Thompson is sent sprawling by Camrose Kodiaks defenceman Trevor Costello during Game 3 of the second round playoff series, March 22 at Pason Centennial
Okotoks Oiler Nolan Thompson is sent sprawling by Camrose Kodiaks defenceman Trevor Costello during Game 3 of the second round playoff series, March 22 at Pason Centennial Arena. Camrose won 5-4 to take a 3-0 lead in the series.

A slow start has the Okotoks Oilers’ playoff hopes running out of time.

The Camrose Kodiaks scored on three of its first five shots and held off a later surge to edge Okotoks 5-4 in Game 3 of the Alberta Junior Hockey League South semifinal Tuesday night at Pason Centennial Arena to grab a 3-0 stranglehold in the series.

“That’s as tough as you can get, but I’m actually proud of the kids the way they responded o that,” said Oilers head coach James Poole. “Down 3-0 five shots in, 10 minutes in, things could get ugly there.

“The kids seemed to battle back, got better as the game went on and stuck together.”

The visitors did everything they could to put the contest out of reach from the get-go.

Mackenzie Bauer tallied on the Kodiaks’ first shot just over three minutes into the game followed by goals on consecutive shifts from Ethan James and Nelson Gadoury midway through the frame. Okotoks’ Colin O’Neill then gave the hosts some much needed life when he fired a one-timer past Camrose netminder Patrick Gora late in the opening period.

Towering defenceman Trevor Costello restored the three-goal advantage late in the middle frame before Okotoks blueliner Carson Beers found a seam on the powerplay to make it a two-goal game entering period three.

The comeback was well and truly on when tireless winger Carter Huber sneaked a wrap-around tally past Gora just over a minute into the final stanza.

After spending the length of the period defending its goal, the Kodiaks opportunistically took back a two-goal advantage when sniper Cole McBride converted on an Oilers turnover with a mere four minutes on the clock.

With the extra-attacker, Okotoks freshman Cooper Page crashed the net to pot his first playoff goal to set up a nervous final two minutes for the visitors.

It was as close as the hosts would get.

Okotoks out-shot Camrose 31-18 and probably deserved a better fate on the evening.

Its four goals also represented an improvement on its combined three tallies from the series’ first two contests in the Rose City.

“They play a bit of a man-to-man d-zone and we found some ways to get around that a little bit,” Poole said. “There is positives we can take offensively and now it’s making sure we cut out some of the turnovers and some of the dumb penalties.”

Okotoks was without the services of the injured Danton Davis, Brody Hailwood as well as pugnacious forward Joe Karpyshyn who was serving a two-game suspension for a check-from-behind in Game 2 of the series.

Okotoks will look to stave off elimination on home-ice when the puck drops on Game 4 on March 24 at Pason Centennial Arena.

“Sure we made some mistakes at the end, but showed a little character trying to comeback,” the coach added. “Hopefully we can use that as a bit of momentum for Game 4.”

For more information go to okotoksoilers.ca


Remy Greer

About the Author: Remy Greer

Remy Greer is the assistant editor and sports reporter for Okotokstoday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact rgreer@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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