A three-game winning streak for the Blackfalds Bulldogs was snapped Tuesday night in Camrose, so a Friday night matchup in Drayton Valley gave the Bulldogs an opportunity to get back on track against a team at the bottom of the North division standings. Drayton Valley came into the game having won just one game in October thus far, and have won just one of their last eight.
Blackfalds had a bulk of first-period chances that Thunder goaltender Cole Savage kept out until the 19:50 mark of the opening frame, when a Bill Gourgon one-timer beat him on the glove-hand side, giving Gourgon his first AJHL goal.
Blackfalds’ second period marked an explosion of offence. In the absence of linemate Jason Siedem, Tyler Wallace and Brett Meerman continued their fine run of form, with Meerman and Tanner Willick earning assists on Wallace’s eleventh goal of the season to make it 2-0. Layne Loomer made it 3-0 on a shorthanded rebound after a good Kody Willick effort forced the chance. Blackfalds added another special teams goal later on, as Tanner Willick and Wallace assisted on Brendan Ross’ fourth of the year.
Drayton Valley started a pushback late in the third period, with Daniel Kernaghan and Luca Ricci scoring goals 59 seconds apart to give the Thunder a fighting chance near the end, pulling the goaltender to make a push. Brett Meerman, however, would end Drayton Valley’s hopes with the empty net goal, with Tyler Wallace notching another point with a primary assist.
The Bulldogs’ win puts them two points back of Camrose for second in the division with both teams having played fifteen games. Blackfalds improve to 2-1-0 on their road trip and 7-2-1 in the month of October. They play in Lloydminster Sunday afternoon before a four-game homestand that starts Tuesday against Olds.