*Written/Provided by Okotoks Oilers (click link for video clips)
Ty Yoder (Tofield, AB) scored back-to-back second-period goals on Wednesday to help the Okotoks Oilers overcome an early deficit and ultimately defeat the Drumheller Dragons 3-1 in Game 4 of their semi-final playoff series of Viterra AJHL South.
The Oilers and Dragons now have two wins apiece as the series returns to Drumheller for Game 5 on Saturday; one team will have a 3-2 advantage when the puck drops in Okotoks for Game 6 next Tuesday.
Dean Spak (Calgary, AB) found the back of the net late in the third period on Wednesday to give the Oilers a critical two-goal lead over the visitors. After outscoring the Dragons by a 7-6 margin in a relatively tight opening frame, the Oilers generated 23 shots against Drumheller’s eight in the final 40 minutes of play.
Jack McNaughton (Calgary, AB) returned to goalie for the Oilers after retiring early in Game 1 of the series and subsequently missing the next two games through injury.
After Dragons defender Ben Christian (Red Deer County, AB) scored from the neutral zone early in the first period with a wild rebound off a post, McNaughton locked the rest of the way. The 20-year-old goaltender made 13 saves on 14 Drumheller shots and was named the game’s second star for his efforts.
One of the main reasons for the Oilers loss in Game 3 was their poor performance on special teams. The Dragons held the Oilers to just one power-play goal from six chances and scored four of their five chances with an added forward. Drumheller also victimized the Oilers for a shorthanded goal in Tuesday’s lopsided game, which ultimately ended 6-1 in favor of the Dragons.
On Wednesday, it was the Oilers’ turn to win via special teams. Drumheller failed to score on his only power play of the game; at the other end of the ice, the Oilers hit twice of seven chances with the extra man.
Both of Yoder’s goals came on the power play, with McNaughton delivering a nice stretching pass to give the 19-year-old winger a breakaway chance. With Dragons defenseman Kiano Robinson (Calgary, AB) chasing him closely, Yoder managed to create space on the heels and beat opposing goaltender Eric Ward (Edmonton, AB) with a sweeping move. five-hole reverse.
Spak’s tally allowed the Oilers to breathe easier with just 3:18 remaining in regulation time. The 19-year-old forward pulled off a turnover in the Oilers offensive zone, carried the puck into the high slot and fired a shot that appeared to ricochet off Christian’s stick before going over Ward’s glove.
The Oilers will have the opportunity to take a 3-2 lead over the Dragons when they return to action for Game 5 in Drumheller on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. MT. Oilers play-by-play voice Gino De Paoli will be on the call for this game on The Eagle 100.9.