Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oilers' new crew grooving early on

Dan MacDonald wasn't sure what to think before the Alberta Junior Hockey League season opened.

The coach of the Okotoks Oilers was looking at a rookie-laden lineup and a big hole in net left by most valuable player and all-star goaltender Brad Eidsness.

Well, three weeks in, the Oilers are sitting on top of the South Division and MacDonald still has that rookie-heavy cast of troops and still isn't sure what to expect the rest of the way. But, needless to say, he's pleasantly pleased.

"Though we've had success, it's hard to say where we are," he said, as his team moved into a week-long layoff after the first nine games. "We're still looking at those wins like 9-8, 7-5 . . . those sorts of things so we're still finding our way.

"We're happy with it, no doubt. The players are working hard and that's the biggest thing. We're not a finesse team or a team that's system strong. We're just strong working kids."

The Oilers are making do with a dozen rookies, a couple new goalies, a handful of strong character veterans and a half-dozen U.S. players who have proven to be a real asset.

Six U.S. colleges, at the urging of former Oilers coach and director of player personnel Gary Van Hereweghe, staged a prospects camp in Okotoks prior to the start of the AJHL season.

"That was really beneficial because those American kids came up and they stayed . . . they just stayed," said MacDonald. "We've been very fortunate . . . it was a good bonus for us."

What the Oilers landed out of the deal was 18-year-old goalie Steve Papciak, a couple of solid defencemen in Tyler Matthews and Scott Keeven and strong forwards in John McInnis, Andy Singhouse and Cody Dion, who has been out since suffering an injury in the third game.

All of them have either come out of U.S. high school or midget hockey programs.

"One of the biggest things they've had to adjust to is the hitting and they don't fight there at all so they're learning that part of it," said MacDonald. "They also wear full masks in high school and in college but they're here for the same reason as the other guys . . . they want to get a scholarship and further their hockey career."

Corban Knight sits atop the club's offensive stats with eight goals and a couple of assists, while veteran defenceman Brandon Hoogenboom has eight points (three goals). McInnis is in with five goals among seven points, while veteran Jesse Hudkins has two goals in his seven points plus a team-leading 48 penalty minutes.

Sean Cahill has put up the best numbers in the crease with three wins in four starts, a 1.76 goals-against average and a heady .930 save percentage. Papciak has a 3.50 GAA in two games. Braley Torris was the third goaltender but has been released.

"We think our goaltending has been good," said MacDonald. "They're young guys but we think they're going to be good."

Asked if there are any pleasant surprises among his cast of rookies, MacDonald quickly answered there were "quite a few. But the other side of it is we've had some real good leadership from the veterans . . . guys like Jesse Hudkins, Justin Daigle, James Bannister, Hoogenboom, (Chris) Duszynski. They're doing a real good job."

You'd have to think the Oilers are only going to get better as they build chemistry and learn to play with each other.

"We have lots of work to do yet," acknowledged MacDonald. "We feel fortunate we have this start. It's easier to win now than it is in February when everyone is playing for spots so, right now, we're crossing our fingers.

"We've made a lot of mistakes and that's why we've given up a lot of goals. We have to shore that up and learn how to play defence better but we're really going hard to the net and if you do that, you're usually going to have some success."

John Down, Calgary Herald
Published: Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oilers make 2 trades.

The Oilers made a couple of trades on Friday, September 26/08;

Braely Torris (1989) Goaltender, was traded to the Drayton Valley Thunder and Johnathon Sonntag (1990) D/F, was traded to the Lloydminister Bobcats. Both trades were for future considerations.

The team now has a total of 21 players including goaltenders Steve Papciak and Sean Cahill.


Jesse Hudkins to play for Yale in 2009

An Okotoks Junior A Oiler’s bulldog-like tenaciousness has helped earn him a scholarship to a top U.S. school. Jesse Hudkins, a six-foot-one, 200-pound defenceman, has accepted a scholarship with Yale University for the 2009-10 season after losing an opportunity to attend another Ivy League school, Princeton.
“It was disappointing,” Hudkins said, who was turned down by Princeton because he does not speak a second language. “I thought it was a go for a few months. This is a great opportunity, I am really excited about it.”
Hudkins tried out for the Yale Bulldogs assistant coach Kyle Wallack this July in Calgary.

“It was just a one ice-time deal and I guess he liked what he saw,” Hudkins said.
While Hudkins is a rugged defenceman with a scoring touch, you don’t go to Yale just because you have a hard shot from the point — you have to practically be able to explain the physics about the speed and trajectory of the puck coming off the stick.
Hudkins scored a whopping 1,900 on the Student Aptitude Tests out of 2,400 — Ivy League material.

The Central Memorial High School graduate said he’s always been able to combine hitting the books with playing hockey. He plans to take environmental engineering at the elite school in New Haven, Conn.

“It’s someone who engineer projects to better our effects on the environment,” Hudkins said. “I read a few books, (most notably) A Short History of Progress that changed my perspective on things on how we impact the world and what we are doing.”
Hudkins expects to be used on the blueline for the Bulldogs. So far this season he has been on defence exclusively for the Oilers but last season saw a lot of time at forward when the team had a plethora of talented defencemen.

“I will be a defenceman at Yale,” Hudkins said. “He (Wallack) liked the way I was able to jump up into the play and then go back and play defence.”
Oilers coach Dan MacDonald feels Hudkins benefited from playing forward for part of last year, and he is a force from the blueline offensively for Okotoks this season.
He’s proud of the third-year Oiler.

“This isn’t just another college — this is Yale, one of the top schools in North America, they have a few more presidents than Princeton,” MacDonald said. “It’s a real feather in his cap.”

He said Hudkins is a solid person who is dedicated to whatever he does.
Hudkins stressed he will be busy as he combines playing NCAA# Division I hockey (the Bulldogs play in the Eastern College Athletic Conference) with studying at a school that has produced three U.S. presidents (William Taft, George H. Bush and George W. Bush). A fact that doesn’t intimidate him. “I don’t plan to be the president,” he said with a laugh.

By Bruce Campbell
sports reporter
The Western Wheel

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oilers defeat Canucks

The Okotoks Oilers evened the season series with the Calgary Canucks on Wednesday, as the visitors defeated the Canucks 3-2 before a sparce crowd of 235.

The game had good flow to it and featured good crisp passes on both sides. The Oilers had 2 powerplay opportunities in the first but failed to score. Outshooting the hometeam by a 7-4 margin, the period ends a scoreless tie.

The play opened up a little bit in the second. The Oilers Jeff Barrett comes off the ice holding his shoulder and gets treatment from the trainer, then goes back on the ice and scores a powerplay goal. Six minutes later, Okotoks leading goal scorer and pointgetter Corban Knight also scores on the PP. The Oilers then run into a little bit of penalty problems and the Canucks score while having the two man advantage. Andrew Singerhouse scores the Oilers only even strength goal with 4 minutes left in the period. Score after 2 is 3-1 Oilers.

Okotoks starts the third period down a defenceman with Jeff Barrett in the stands, nursing a sore shoulder. The Calgary Canucks come on strong, but great goaltending from the Okotoks game star Sean Cahill keeps the score the same until the Canucks leading goal and point getter Matt Mackay scores with 1:14 left in the game, but thats as close as they come. The Calgary team outshots the Oilers 13-4 in the third, but the final score is Oilers 3, Canucks 2.

The win keeps the Oilers in first place in the Southern Division, up by 4 points on the Calgary Canucks. The guys get some time off as the next game is with the Calgary Royals, Tuesday, September 30 at the Father David Bauer Arena.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oilers win a shootout

The Okotoks Oilers last shot on goal went in the net to defeat the high scoring Spruce Grove Saints 9-8 on Sunday afternoon in Okotoks. The Saints were coming off a 3 game in 3 day trip to Southern Alberta and should have been ripe for the picking, but these guys showed why they are the highest scoring team in the league.

Leading the Oilers was Quinn Sproule, scoring 2 goals for the second straight game and chipping in one assist. John McInnis also had 2 goals for the hometown heros, as singles went to Nicholas Bell, Jeff Barrett with his first of the season, Chris Duszynski, Corban Knight with his team leading 7th goal and Andrew Singerhouse, also his first of the season, with the game winner at 19:51 of the third.

A very offensive first period saw the Oilers take a 4-3 lead as both teams scored 2 on the powerplay. Derek Rodwell set the tone early on as he belted an opposing player to the ice. No penalty there but referee Lance McKinnon was calling everything tonight and then some. The Saints outshot the Oilers 14-10.

The second period had both teams turn on the red light 3 times apiece as each team had one powerplay goal. Derek Rodwell got called for a phantom elbow and was tossed at the .38 second mark. A total of 18 penalties were called in the second period confusing the players and coaches even more on how the game is being called. The Spruce Grove Saints oushots the Oilers 12-9 but the Oilers lead after 2 7-6.

The scoring continues in the third. Star of the game Chris Duszynski scores at the midway point of the period to put the Oilers up 8-6, but the visitors score 2 quick ones to tie the score with 4 minutes to play. The oilers take a penalty and Spruce Grove score, but it's disallowed as the net was off. They keep pressuring, but fail to score. Then with 9 seconds left to play, Oilers Andrew Singerhouse scores his first of the season to secure the win.

Okotoks goalie Braely Torris looked a little shakey on a few goals, as did the Oilers defense, but you get these kinds of games once in awhile. I am sure coach McDonald hopes they are few and far between.

Scratches for the Okotoks Oilers were Brandon Hoogenboom, Tyler Matthews and goalie Steven Papciak from suspensions, Cody Dion, Justin Daigle and James Bannister with injuries.

The Oilers hit the road now with games on Wednesday, Sept 24 against the Calgary Canucks and the 30th against the Calgary Royals.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Now affiliated with the Okotoks Oilers website

Just a quick note to say we are now posting our game reviews directly on the official Okotoks website at;

You can find the game reviews under the "last game results" on the right hand side of the main page. Just click on summary. The latest review is there. To read past summarys (they are all there from the start of the year), scroll to the bottom of the current review and click "Click here for other Summaries".

Thanks go out to Wayne Lauinger for his support and encouragement and thanks also to Brent, the Okotoks Oilers webmaster. You should see updated content on the site regularily. We have updated the player listings and working with Brent, we have some great things going to happen at the website.

Stay tuned.

Oilers suspended

The AJHL announces the following;

September 19 - The following players have each been suspended for one (1) game as a result of being involved in a fight while one was already in progress, during a September 19, 2008 game in Brooks:

- Brooks Bandits: Erik Toews, Dave Osborne, and David Briere

- Okotoks Oilers: Steven Papciak, Tyler Matthews, and Brandon Hoogenboom

I find it ironic that Steve Papciak had no choice but to stick up for himself. It was David Briere, the Brooks goalie that skated the length of the ice to tangle with Papciak. Sure, Briere got the extra 2 minutes for leaving the crease, but it's inexcuseable for a goalie to skate down to the other end unprovoked, to start a fight. He should have gotten a 3 game suspension at least!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oilers win a rough one in Brooks

The Oilers defeated the Brooks Bandits on Friday night 7-5 in the unfriendly confines of the Lakeside Leisure Center in Brooks.

In a game that turned ugly at the end, the Oilers outskated and outhustle the Bandits throughout. Goalscorers for the Oilers were Quinn Sproule with 2, Nicholas Bell,Corban Knight with 2 and Derek Rodwell with 2.

The first period saw both teams exchange goals before Jesse Hudkins boards Jarret Granberg and John Stimson jumps Hudkins. Jesse throws Stimson off and he ends up hitting the ice hard, causing a massive delay while emergency personal attend to Stimson. The teams go to their dressing rooms with 9:53 to be added to the second period as the injury looks quite serious. It was reported that he did make it back from the hospital and was in the dressing room at the end of the game.

When the teams come back on the ice before the early intermission, the teams exchange PP goals before the first period offically ends. Score 2-2 after the first.

The Oilers take control in the second period, beating the slower Bandits to the puck and outworking them. They are rewarded with a shorthanded goal by Quinn Sproule that seemed to take the steam out of Brooks, and Corbin Knight's first of 2 on the night. Score 4-2 Oilers after 2.

The third period saw the Oilers continue to pressure the opposition and score 3 more, but allowing the Bandits 3 also. Tempers flared with just a 8 seconds left in the game as many fights broke out and David Briere, the Brooks goalie skated the length of the ice to take on Oilers Steve Papciak.

So the Okotoks team grabs 2 points and head home once again tied for first in the Southern Division with the Canucks, who lost tonight.

Next up is a home game on Sunday afternoon against the Spruce Grove Saints.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Calgary Canucks defeat Okotoks Oilers

In years gone by, a Calgary Canucks visit to the Okotoks Centennial Arena meant 2 points for the hometown boys. How times have changed. This years version of the Canucks have the offensive skills and the defensive drive to win a good chunk of their games this year.

As shown on Thursday night, these Calgary Canucks are for real. The first period was scoreless, as the Oilers failed to score on 3 powerplay chances. This was a hard hitting game as players finished off their checks to gain the advantage of puck control. Shots on goal favored the Canucks in this period 11-6. Okotoks goalie Sean Cahill made a number of good stops.

The second period is one that the Oilers would like back. The Oilers ran into their own penalty problems, and with a bad icing call and a bad interference call on Jesse Hudkins, the Canucks jumped into a 2-0 lead. The first goal was a beautiful tip in front of the net from the point, and the second was a behind the net pass out front and buried by the Canucks Krishan Kaushal. On both goals, Oilers goalie Sean Cahill did not have a chance on them. Oilers outshot the Canucks 7-5, but are down 2-0.

The third period got even rougher, as the hits kept on coming causing Justin Daigle and Canucks Mike Pao to fight. The period was quite even, both teams had PP opportunities as the Oilers outshot the Canucks 6-5, but couldn't net one tonight.
Coach McDonald pulled Cahill with 1:04 left, and with the pressure the Oilers had, produced few good chances.

Scratches tonight were James Bannister, concussion, Cody Dion, wrist and goalie Steve Papciak. Oilers star of the game was Cody Fehr.

So the Canucks sit at 5-0 this season. How long can they go before the bubble bursts? Thats why you play every game. Anything can happen. The Oilers are now 4-2, still respectable for a season start.

The Oilers are off to Brooks on Friday night. The next home game is Sunday afternoon against the Spruce Grove Saints.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jesse Hudkins has committed to Yale University Bulldogs

The Okotoks Oilers have announced that 20 year defenceman, Jesse Hudkins, has committed to the Yale University Bulldogs, of the ECAC Hockey League for the 2009/10 season in New Haven, Ct.

Jesse played his minor hockey in Calgary, Alberta before joining the Oilers for the 2006/07 season. His hard work and dedication to the game have made him a multi-talented player with proficiency at both the forward and defense positions.

General Manager/Head Coach Dan MacDonald stated, “Jesse is a physical and skilled player, who competes with intensity every shift. His versatility gives our team tremendous depth, a luxury that will be hard to replace next year when he moves on to Yale. The Okotoks Oilers are very proud of Jesse’s accomplishment and wish him every success with his future scholastic and athletic endeavors”.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Okotoks completes a tough road trip with a loss.

The Okotoks Oilers completed their first road trip of the season on Sunday afternoon, going down to defeat 3-1 to the Sherwood Park Crusaders. This was the Oilers first loss of the young season and came after the team strung together wins in the first 2 games of this trip.

The weary Oilers were totally outshot in the first 2 periods. They did come out of the first period scoreless, but badly outshot 15-6. They ran into penalty problems in the second, taking 4 in a row and giving the Crusaders a 2 goal lead, the first of which was on the powerplay. Again, the Okotoks team were badly outshot 16-7 in the second and were probably lucky to be down by only two goals.

Sherwood Park upped their lead to 3-0 before Brandon Hoogenboom closes out the scoring by scoring shothanded. Final score 3-1. The Oilers did pick up their game in the third outshooting the Crusaders 18-8.

Okotoks goalie Braely Torris was the Oilers star of the game.

So the boys are now off until Thursday when the rejuvenated Calgary Canucks come to the Centennial Arena. Sitting with a record of 4-1 and still holding onto first place, home looks like a good place to be right now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Okotoks Oilers down Spruce Grove Saints

The second game of this 3 game Northern road trip ended successfully as we squeaked out a 3-2 win over the Spruce Grove Saints with John McInnis netting the winner just .43 seconds into OT.

The 644 fans in attendance did not see their team lead the entire game. Okotoks's Cody Fehr opened the scoring in the offensive first period before the Saints tied it up 5 minutes later. The Oilers outshot Spruce Grove 16-13. The score end of the first was 1-1.

Derek Rodwell scored the only goal in the second, putting the Oilers ahead 2-1 after 2.

The Oilers give up their first power play goal of the year in the third after Jesse Hudkins gets sent to the box and the Saints tie up the game. We got outshot badly in this period 11-4. Score after regulation time is 2-2.

It doesn't take long in OT as the Oilers first shot on goal goes in. It's John McInnis from Brandon Hoogenboom and Jesse Hudkins.

In goal was Sean Cahill, and there were no Oilers with a multi point night. Final shots on goal was 34-28 for Saint Albert.

The Okotoks Oilers are now 2-0 on this road trip that concludes on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 against the Northern Division leaders Sherwood Park Crusaders. The season is off to a great start for the unbeaten 4-0 Oilers. A day off surely must be in the cards for Coach Dan McDonald once they get back home on Monday.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oilers open road trip with a win.

The Oilers had a very rewarding game in Lloydminster on Friday as they skated away with a 6-2 win. Jesse Hudkins lead the way with 2 goals, Corban Knight had a goal and an assist and John McInnis had 2 assists for the night.

The first period was all Oilers as they outscored the Bobcats 2-0. Brandon Hoogenboom opened the scoring, then Jeff Barrett hit Corbin Knight with a great pass as Corbin stepped on the ice after serving a penalty and broke in alone and scored the Oilers second goal.

The second period saw Lloydminster step it up and have a good period. They actually got the first goal of the period, but Jesse Hudkins first of two took the wind out of the home team. Score 3-1 after 2.

The third period saw the Oilers get an early goal by Conrad Smith at the 18 second mark to make the game 4-1. After Lloydminster pots their second of the game, Jesse Hudkins blasted a shot that the home team argued went off the cross bar and stayed out, but the refereees said the puck was in. One more by the Oilers Daigle closed out the nights scoring. Final score 6-2 Oilers.

Steve Papciak was in goal for Okotoks making 32 saves. Lloydminster Bobcats went 0-9 on the power play.

A great way to start this 3 game Northern road swing. Next up on Saturday night will be a very tough game against the 2-0 Spruce Grove Saints.

Oilers on the road this weekend

The Okotoks Oilers have left the friendly confines of the Centennial Arena this weekend for three games against Northern Division opponents.

First up are the Lloydminster Bobcats on Friday night at 7:30. The Bobcats sit at 0-2 with only 3 goals scored this season. They should be quite hungry for their first win of the season.

On Saturday night at 7:30, the puck drops in Spruce Grove Saints. They are 2-0 this season and have scored 15 goals and have only allowed 3. This could be one tough game to win.

And on Sunday afternoon at 2:30, the Oilers tangle with the league leaders Sherwood Park Crusaders. Their 3-0 record, with 16 goals scored and 11 goals allowed, shows they have strived to be an offensive team, but maybe suffer on the defense. This could be a fans game to watch.

The Oilers are back home on Thursday, Sept 17 against the surprising and surging Calgary Canucks.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Player moves

Here are the latest announced Oiler players moves.

Oilers trade the CHA/AJHL rights of Mason Conway and Brian Doust to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons for future considerations.

Oilers trade the CHA rights of Casey Dion to the LaRonge Ice Wolves (SJHL) for future considerations.

Oilers trade the CHA/AJHL rights of Tyler Jewitt and Christopher Korpach to the Calgary Royals for future considerations.

Good luck to all.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Stats after the opening weekend

The Oilers have played only 2 games so far this season. Some teams have played 3 and even some have not played at all yet. Here are our teams leaders in some of the more important stats;

Most points 4. Corbin Knight (3G, 1A)
Most goals 3, Corbin Knight, tied with 3 others for 2nd in league.
Most assists 2, Hoogenboom, Daigle, Fehr with 2 on the team.
Oilers power play 9th in league (3 for 16)
Oilers penalty killing tied for 1st (0 for 17)
Goalie save percentage, Sean Cahill tied for 3rd .952
Goalie save percentage, Braely Torris tied for 6th .938

Interesting..ya, kind of., too early in the season.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oilers defeat St. Albert Saints

The Okotoks Oilers have started the season with a record of 2-0 after defeating the St. Albert Steel 3-1 on Sunday afternoon in front of a crowd of about 700.

Coach Dan McDonald made a few changes from last nights line-up. In goal today was Sean Cahill who played very well, even stopping a penalty shot in the second. With 20 saves, he may just have won himself a spot on this team. Nick Bell and Jeff Barrett sat out, while Tyler Jewitt and Conrad Smith dressed this afternoon did not look out of place.

The Oilers star of the game, Chris Duszynski got the first goal but Daniel Carr of the Saints tipped in his first for the Saints first and only goal of the day. 1-1 after the first with the Oilers having an advantage of shots (12-7) and the play.

The special teams broke through in the second with Corbin Knight on the PP and Cody Dion, set up beautifully by Brandon Hoogenboom, shorthanded. Oilers goalie Sean Cahill stood his ground and stopped a penalty shot, further boosting the Oilers play for the rest of the period. Score 3-1 after 2.

No scoring in the third, and the Saints outshooting us 7-4, but the game plan this period was to dump it in and let St. Albert chase the puck down for most of the period. This was their 3rd game in 3 days, so wearing them down was the goal. The Oilers did take a few needless penalties, and at one point, was down 2 for the full 2 minutes, then 2 minutes right after that, but the penalty killers were great, most noticably Quinn Sproule, Rodger Craig, Cody Dion and the defensive corps.

So we are off to a 2-0 start. A little surprising, yes, but the season is still young. The team does look good as a team, the work ethic is there, the skill level will only improve and the heart, drive and determination has to be there every game. Are this years Oilers up for the challenge? You bet. It's going to be a great year fans. Enjoy every shift.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oilers start new season with a win.

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons must have thought this was going to be an easy night. Scoring with just 14 seconds gone in the game, visions of a romp surely was going through their minds.

But the Oilers came together as a team tonight with a 5-1 win helping them believe in themselves. John McInnis tied the score a few minutes later, but with a splattering of penalities in the period, both teams could not get any sustained momentum going and the period ended tied at one a piece.

The second period saw returnee Brandon Hoogenboom get the only goal on a nice set up from Corban Knight but once again, the penalties broke up any real flow to the game.

The third period our Oilers really picked up the pace outshooting the opposition 18-3 and made the Oil Barons pay the price for taking penalties as 2 of the 3 goals were on the PP.

Corban Knight with 3 points (2G,1A), Justin Daigle with 2 assists as did Cody Fehr and Hoogenboom with 1G,1A gave the Oilers enough offense to walk away with the win.

The defence tighten up after the first early goal by Ft. McMurray and Braely Torris, while not overworked, was sharp.

Jesse Hudkins was wearing the C with his new number 6 and it looked pretty good on him. Jesse has shown improved confidence in handling the puck and is taking control of the ice when he is out there. Andy Singerhouse missed a wide open net and Quinn Sproule played it smart on a line change when it would have been easy to go on the ice when the puck was right there at the gate causing a too many ice penalty. A smart move by Quinn. John McInnes had a good game, as did Derek Rodwell, Justin Daigle and Jesse Hudkins.

Next up is the Sunday afternoon game against the St. Albert Steel.

The coach speaks about the upcoming season.

After five exhibition games and just a couple of days before the season opener, Okotoks Oilers coach Dan MacDonald was still doing a little head scratching.

A force in the Alberta Junior Hockey League's South Division last season, finishing No. 2 overall, the Oilers are undergoing a relatively major makeover this season and MacDonald is still wondering how much punch his club will be able to deliver.

Goaltender Brad Eidsness, feted as the league's most valuable player, has gone off to play on a scholarship for a U.S. college and just 10 players are returning.

It's difficult to say because there's such a large turnover," said MacDonald, the team's second-year head coach, when asked to assess his team's chances.

"Really, we're still sorting things out.

"It's a pretty good group that is returning, so we're fine that way. There's good leadership, so we're happy with that. But we're still waiting to see what some guys can do."

The Oilers, who were looking to trim another player or two from the 28-man roster before tonight's season and home opener against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, lost three of five exhibition games.

That, of course, is no big deal as you try to fit in several new pieces and sort through three goaltenders, including returnee Braely Torris.

"I think as the exhibition season progressed, our intensity and drive improved," said MacDonald, "so I think we have that . . . I think we're a good energy team."

Last season, MacDonald had to get to know a relatively veteran lineup as the first-year coach. Now he finds himself in somewhat of a similar situation as he gets to know a bunch of new faces who, by the same token, are getting to know him.

One big thing he has on his side is the leadership skills of Justin Daigle and Jesse Hudkins, the only 20-year-olds on the roster.

"I think every year is a tall order," mused MacDonald, "whether you have a veteran team or not. Most of our young guys who went to (WHL) camps are back now and we pretty much know what we're working with . . . I think half of them are Calgary kids.

"But it's still a feeling-out process, a learning process."

The Oilers tackle the Oil Barons at 7 p.m. and come right back Sunday afternoon at 1:30 to entertain St. Albert.

John Down, Calgary Herald, Septembner 6/08.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The quest for the 2009 Enerflex Cup

Some could say the Okotoks Oilers missed their chance to hit pay dirt. All the pieces seemed to fall in place last year for one of the league’s newest franchises: a record number of wins, league MVP goalie Bradley Eidsness, a great veteran defensive core and a number of players who were natural goal scorers.

A second round playoff exit was definitely not in the cards. Now the question is how to get back to the brink with only eight returning players. “We hope we recruited well enough to move forward,” said coach Dan MacDonald.

With 14 new players, mainly picked out of the midget AAA ranks, the Oilers are sure to have a lot of overwhelmed players who will need a lot of adjusting just to make it through a 62-game schedule. Fatigue is a concern to MacDonald and it should be. To combat the weary-leg syndrome, the Oilers have taken the high road and won’t be as high-flying as they once were. Baby steps, with a grown up elbow here and there, are definitely on the menu. “Last year we were a finesse team,” said MacDonald. “We are trying to get away from that. This year it will be more of a blend (of finesse and physical play).”

Brought into the fold to help with that are two true imports. Forwards Andy Singerhouse of Minnesota and John McInnes who hails from the Boston area, are big players in the 200 pound range and will be expected to set the physical pace.

from the AJHL website

Okotoks Oilers get a mascot

The Okotoks Oilers hockey club announced they will be introducing the team’s first mascot this season. The burly Oiler will be in the stands trying to stir Okotoks hockey fans into a frenzy. The new mascot will be unveiled at the game on Oct. 10.
The club will be holding a Name the Mascot contest as well as a colouring contest to ensure the young fans have an opportunity to participate in the recruitment of the newest Oiler. Youth are encouraged to colour and propose a name for the tough-looking mascot baring an Oiler jersey, hockey pants, socks and a roughneck’s hard hat.
Let's hope this turns into a positive addition to the atmosphere of the arena and the fans.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oilers acquire 2 players.

League release:

August 28 – The Okotoks Oilers acquire the rights of Scott Keeven and Casey Dion from the Springfield Blues (NAHL) for future considerations.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oilers wrap up pre-season

The Okotoks Oilers closed out their 2008/2009 pre-season schedule tonight by dominating the Canmore Eagles 10-3. This makes their pre-season record 2-3.

This was their best complete effort to date as not only did they show their offensive skills, but tightened up on defense. Tyler Matthews with 2 first period PP goals and Chris Duszynski closing out the scoring with 2 in the third. Wedged in between were goals by Jesse Hudkins, John McInnes, Cody Fehr, Kyle Reynolds,Jeff Barret and Cody Dion.

Steve Papciak (We think. Sometimes the lineup sheets incorrectly state the wrong name) played the first half in goal and allowed 2 goals. Braely Torris played the last half and allowed one fluke goal.

The guys were playing all out for the full 60 minutes with few let-ups. The final shots on goal were 47-21 favoring the Oilers.

We are looking forward to the start of the regular season on Saturday night, and to see the final line-up the Oilers will start the season with. If tonights game is any indication, it could be a great season. Lets hope so.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Oiler drop 2 to the Calgary Canucks

This past weekend was not kind to the Okotoks Oilers, as they dropped both games of a home and home series to the resurging Calgary Canucks.

Even though the Saturdays game was not completed due to a broken pane of glass, it goes into the record books as a 4-1 win for the Canucks.

Move on to Sunday night at the Max Bell Arena. Firstly, I did not take kindly to being charged the full 12 dollar admittance fee to this pre-season game, as a few others felt also. Most teams charge a token 5 dollars to see a pre-season game, which is quite right, but to charge the full cost of a game is just being greedy. (Another case of the Canucks nickle and dimeing the fan/family).

On Sunday night, a high scoring game saw the Canucks get the better of the Oilers by a 6-4 score. The Oilers came out in the first period determined to make amends for last nights loss by jumping out to a 2-1 lead after one. Cody Dion and Mason Conway were the goal scores as we outshot the Canucks 14-4.

The second period was the complete opposite as the Canucks outshot the Oilers 13-5 and got the only goal and went to the intermission tied at 2-2. Oilers penalties cost them any momentum in this period.

The third period was a see saw affair, seeing the Canuck outscore us 4-2 and taking the game 6-4. Jesse Hudkins and Conway Mason (with his second) were our goal scorers.
Two goals were a direct result of mis-communication between our goaltender and our defenceman. Speaking of goaltending, Braely Torris has not stepped up to the plate yet in the pre-season. Sean Cahill, Steve Papciak and Andy Carmichael are all pushing Braely for the goaltending position, and they all have played quite well.

Sundays game saw Cody Dion once again play a strong game, showing his great shot, and hockey smarts. Corban Knight is still inconsistant and Andy Singerhouse is playing quite decent. 8 regulars played and 2 regulars are still sitting out account of injuries.

So the Oilers now have a 1-3 pre-season record with one game remaining on Tuesday night at home against the Canmore Eagles.