HOME GAME 17 RECAP: SAINTS LOSE CONVINCINGLY 5-1 TO OILERS
By: Adam Kulak
It was close all period long in the opening 20 minutes of this one. The Saints played fine but there are things that they could have done better against the Oilers. Okotoks played fast and did a good job of forcing turnovers in the neutral zone and the Saints zone. The Oilers would get on the board first at 8:44 of the period. They put the puck on net with second and third opportunities and Quinn Olsen would be the beneficiary on the play to make it 1-0. The Saints had two powerplay opportunities in the period, but they couldn’t solve Okotoks aggressive penalty kill, keeping the game 1-0. The Saints had a couple of shifts later in the period where they established good zone time where they moved the puck well, but they need more of it as the game goes on. They need to improve on transitioning the puck through the neutral zone cleanly against Okotoks fast and aggressive style in period 2 and 3. The shots were 10-10 as the Saints would head to the locker room down by 1.
It didn’t get much better for the Saints in the second as it was all Okotoks in the middle frame. The Saints could not get the puck back in their own zone and exit their zone cleanly. Okotoks spent a lot of time in the offensive zone and generated numerous chances off the rush. Matt Davis kept the Saints in it for most of the period but eventually the Oilers would stretch their lead to three. The Saints would get caught with too many men at 15:50 of the period. The Oilers put the puck out front and the league leader in Points/Game Dylan Holloway would bury it on the doorstep. A couple minutes later, Holloway would make them pay again as the puck would bounce off his skate on a 2 on 1 to give the Oilers a 3-0 lead. Shots in the period were 15-6 for the Oilers as the Saints would trail by three heading into the third.
Seth Bernard-Docker and Ben Evanish would each add another goal midway through the period. Stanley Cooley would break the shutout with 2 minutes left with his 5th of the season but Okotoks would win this one convincingly 5-1 here at the Grant Fuhr Arena. The Saints know that they need to be better then they were tonight, but I’ll give credit where credit is due, Okotoks played a hell of a game. They were the faster team and they shut the Saints down in transition all night. Tanner Hickey was solid in his return from injury and TJ Lloyd was his consistent self tonight but not nearly enough from everyone. The Saints will have to find a way to bounce back tomorrow night as they welcome the Canmore Eagles, puck drop is 7:00pm.