A hometown return and a dream debut set the course for a Thanksgiving weekend blowout.
Alaister Standen notched the hat-trick in the return to his stomping grounds and Ivan Chtchadov netted three goals in his first game of the season as the Okotoks Bisons overwhelmed the High River Flyers 14-0 in Heritage Junior Hockey League action on Oct. 8 at the Bob Snodgrass Recplex.
“It’s awesome, I recognized a lot of people and it’s cool to just play in a place that I scored so many goals in when I was young,” said Standen, a 2001 born forward. “Even in warm-up, getting ready for the game I was on the other ice just remembering when I was 5 year’s old and just playing initiation.
“It was total full-circle, first time being on the other bench.”
Standen scored in every period and completed the trifecta with just 6.7 seconds left on the clock in the divisional clash to bring his goal totals to seven, tied for top spot on the herd.
“Right at the end we were trying to set up (Scott Brown) and the puck was just on my stick in the slot so I shot it,” Standen said.
The trio of Standen, Andrew Bonham and Evan Woods combined for 5 goals and 9 points on the night.
“We’re all fast, we all move the puck well to each other and have played with each other for a long time,” Standen added. “It’s easy, it’s natural. I know my guys are going to be there in the spots I need them to be.
“We really don’t have too much of a plan other than keep our speed up, keep our physicality up and we find success that way.”
Chtchadov made an immediate impact in the lineup after missing time to injury, scoring three goals of his own a hard working line with Brown and Cody Steinert.
“All the boys had so much energy and I was so excited to be a part of that,” Chtchadov said. “Right off the start, I knew I just had to have a good game and I went out there and just played like I knew.
“And with that energy, those goals wouldn’t have happened without the boys. I’m really glad to be back and excited for what’s to come.”
The energetic winger, a 2002-born Okotoks minor hockey product, said it’s been easy to settle in with a group he knows so well.
“I’ve played with a lot of these boys since Atom,” Chtchadov added. “The chemistry is there already, we’re working on new chemistry with all the new guys in the room that I personally haven’t played with before.
“So it’s going to take time, but the chemistry is honestly there.”
Also finding the back of the net were speedster AJ Belanger with a pair along with Woods, Bonham, Travis Thorhaug, Adam Kirkpatrick, Dylan Wenzel with defenceman Kegan Law adding his first marker with the team.
“We had multiple multi-goal scorers today which is great,” Standen said. “It gives confidence, it shows the coaching staff what guys are capable of doing because everybody was rotating through the lineup.
“It’s great, everybody was touching the puck and it leads to great success.”
Layton Draper stopped all 17 shots for his second shutout in four games, improving his record to 7-0 with a ridiculous .951 save percentage.
Despite jumping out to a commanding 8-0 lead through 40 minutes, the Bisons kept on the attack and did well to avoid complacency settling into the game.
“We’ve had games like this where we’ve let off the gas and then teams come back in the game a little bit,” Standen said. “It just brings bad energy back and you’re fighting to keep a lead against a team you should be beating.
“We learned that lesson pretty early and now when we go out, we treat every shift like it’s your first one or maybe even your last one.
“We don’t really look at that score when it gets up that high, we just keep playing like you always do.”
Currently on a six-game winning streak, the Bisons (7-1) have a nine-point cushion atop the Southern Division standings.
This weekend sees the Medicine Hat Cubs visit Okotoks Murray Arena for a divisional battle on Oct. 15 followed by a Bisons road date on Oct. 16 in Sylvan Lake.
“It’s a great group of guys, great coaching staff, super flexible because I think most of our players on the team are in school,” Standen added. “It’s been great, and a nice way to keep playing while continuing on with your life.”