Photo credit: Xander Holcomb, Blackfalds Bulldogs
For the Blackfalds Bulldogs and Okotoks Oilers, Friday night marked a desirable opportunity for both teams to break their tie for second place in the South division standings. Okotoks took two points from Blackfalds on November 8, as the Oilers put seven past the Bulldogs in a big win. Blackfalds and Okotoks each came into Friday night’s battle with a 4-1-0 record in their last five and were missing significant pieces of their team coming into the game. For Okotoks, numerous unavailable players forced them into dressing eleven forwards including three APs, while Blackfalds is still without AIC commit Tanner Willick with an upper-body injury.
Both teams started the game strongly and traded grade ‘A’ scoring chances early, with Blackfalds’ Jason Siedem and Okotoks’ Jagger Tapper both hitting the post early on. Blackfalds would break through first, scoring eight minutes in. Off a broken play, Siedem found a loose puck in front and fed a perfect pass cross-ice to find Brendan Ross who fired it into the gaping net to make it 1-0. Blackfalds and Okotoks continued to trade chances back and forth as the period continued, but the Bulldogs took control as the first progressed and managed to score two goals in the span of a minute and two seconds to expand their lead to 3-0. First, Tyler Teasdale broke into the offensive zone and found Evan Mitchell with a perfect backhand cross-ice saucer pass, giving Mitchell time and space to pick the top corner over Parker Sawka’s glove, doubling the Bulldogs’ lead and giving Mitchell his first goal in Blackfalds colours. Not long after, a smart David Brandes wrist shot from the left point provided Jayden Joly with a rebound opportunity, and Blackfalds went up by three.
The Bulldogs and Oilers played a scoreless second period, but Okotoks managed to survive a Bulldogs five-on-three. Tyler Wallace did really well down low to find Jayden Joly on the doorstep early in the third period to give Blackfalds a 4-0 lead. The Bulldogs were able to kill off each of the penalties they took late in the third to hold on and win by a four-goal margin.
Matthew Hennessey’s 27 saves marked his second straight shutout victory. Hennessey hasn’t allowed a goal since December 20, playing a total of 127 minutes and three seconds since he was last scored on. With the win, Blackfalds moves two points up on the Oilers and plays them Saturday night at 7:00 in Okotoks with the opportunity to expand their lead over the Oilers in second place in the south.