It pays to have the most prolific line in the league in your back pocket.
Top scorer Tyson Scott punctuated a brilliant evening with his fourth goal with less than two minutes left in regulation as the Okotoks Bisons outlasted the Cochrane Generals 6-5 in a seesaw tilt Friday night at the Murray Arena to improve to 16-0 in the Heritage Junior Hockey League.
“We’re trying to learn from every game here and try to keep our streak alive as we go,” Scott said. “We understand it’s not always going to be perfect and today was one of them games where it wasn’t a perfect hockey game, but we dug deep and found a way to win.”
Scott’s linemates Tyler Alger and Tyler Witzke played a big part in setting up the game-winner as the trio showcased terrific work on the fore-check, offensive creativity and dynamite finishing in one fell swoop.
“Alger pressured the d-man and made an absolutely fantastic play to intercept that pass and then got robbed on a really good move on a breakaway,” Witzke said. “He then for whatever reason had the mindset to flip the puck over the net, I don’t know who’s creative enough to do that, but it was nuts.
“I was lucky enough to knock it down and I heard Scotty yelling for it at the far post. I just tried to push it in his direction, you know if you get it anywhere near him it’s in the back of the net.”
Scott, who’s up to a league leading 20 goals and 39 points in just 14 games, had two powerplay goals and scored the tying marker on a deflection midway through the final frame.
“Certain guys have certain roles on the team and we do put up a lot of the offence for us,” said Scott, from Turner Valley. “But there’s lots of games where we aren’t going and it’s (Jagger Thiessen’s) line or (Austin) O’Bray or (Ryan) Bedard or (Devyn) Stewart are putting up points.
“It’s one of them games where we were on and had some pretty good matchups in the offensive zone.”
Alger, the HJHL assists leader, had four helpers on the night while Witzke tallied five apples. The three forwards comprise the league’s top three scorers.
“Those guys were fantastic tonight and they just found a way to get me the puck when I was open,” Scott said. “I’ll be honest, I feel great I’ve got eight goals in the last two games. I can’t take all the credit though, Witzke and Alger, I’ve never played with passers like those guys in my whole career. Just to get the puck in the spots they give it to me is unbelievable.
“We all want to get better and make this team the best we can and to a certain extent sometimes like today we have to take it open ourselves.”
It took a total team effort to get past the Generals, who’ve established themselves as the second best team in the South with two one-goal losses to Okotoks on the campaign.
Cochrane held the lead during parts of all three periods and were particularly deadly on the powerplay and in getting shots deflected in front of goal.
Early third period tallies from Cochrane's Jordan Marks and Sam Norris had the Bisons facing the prospects of their first loss of the season.
“We never lost hope and we never get down as a team,” Witzke said. “With the way the game was going, back and forth there was that (worried) thought in the back of your mind, but we’ve got really good defensive players to just shut it down at the end of the game.
“Our line might be getting all the credit because we’re scoring goals, but the other lines are doing just as much as we are, just in other ways. The O’Bray line with (Dylan) Wenzel and (Brennan Schwark), as soon as they go out there we know everything is getting shut down, their laying bodies and not letting them enter the zone.”
Wenzel and defenceman Joel Deeprose scored the other goals for Okotoks while Devin Reagan made 26 saves to improve to 15-0.
“It’s good to face some adversity as a team,” Witzke added. “If you don’t face adversity all year then when you get to the playoffs it’s going to happen eventually. You’ve got to get used to how you can react to that.
“This game where we kept getting knocked down, one goal after another, battle back to get the game tied, get another goal, it’s building character, it’s teaching our team to be resilient.”
The two-point effort vaults the Bisons into more challenging opposition against the best in the Northern Division. Okotoks is home to the Airdrie Thunder on Nov. 10 at 1:15 p.m. and travel to Didsbury to battle the Mountain View Colts on Nov. 15.
“That defines our character a little bit more,” said Bisons head coach Chris Beston of the win. “It’s nice to be in a tight one and that’s a good (Cochrane) team over there and we know we’ve got to go through them to get to where we want to go in the end and that’s provincials.
“It’s a good start because we play the three best teams in the next three games and it shows the character we have the dressing room.
“If guys take it the way they should this should be a big building spot and turning point in our season.”