When the Big Valley Oil Kings took to the ice on Saturday, Feb. 20, the team was ready to put up the biggest fight of the season in a do-or-die game three of a best-of-five series.
Several players were unable to make the first two games due to work obligations, head coach and general manager Dustin Edwards said.
In game three, Daysland took an early lead, scoring five minutes into the period and again a minute later.
Brendan Lamb’s goal about half-way through the period put the Oil Kings on the board to loud and raucous cheers and stomps, but it was nothing compared to Brandon Nowakowski’s goal with just less than a minute left in the first, tying up the game.
The second period didn’t go well for the Oil Kings, as a steady stream of penalties — six penalties totalling 16 minutes, plus a 10-minute misconduct for Reed Watts — meant the home team spent more than half the period penalty-killing, amping their defence at the cost of offence to keep the aggressive Northstars away from goalie Chance Clark. The sole goal of the second went to Daysland, making the score 3-2.
“Penalty trouble killed us,” Edwards said. “We had a few undisciplined moments, and some bad ref luck. And when you’re killing 10-12 minutes (of penalties) a period, you’re not able to be offensive.”
After three straight games, the Oil Kings were eliminated and Daysland became the South Division champions, and will face the Bonnyville Senior Pontiacs for the NCHL championship.
The team will have an awards banquet later this year before looking toward the 2016-17 season — if there is one.
“We need more volunteers,” Edwards said, “…in all sorts of roles.”