Submitted by Brent Forster,
Big Valley Oil Kings
With the Battle River Hockey League regular season winding down last weekend, the Big Valley Oil Kings wanted to finish up strongly, and they did just that.
The senior Oil Kings captured three of a possible four points with a strong team effort, and snapped an 11-game losing streak in the process.
Last Friday, the Oil Kings travelled to Irma to face the Aces. Big Valley struck early and often in this contest. Twenty-five seconds into the game, Dylan Muhlbach beat Aces goaltender Tyson Soucy.
After the first period, the Oil Kings led 4-2. Irma could not put another puck past netminder Chance Clark, who stopped 28 of 30 shots.
Big Valley went on to score four more times in the game, completing an 8-2 victory. Other goal scorers for the Oil Kings were Devan Shanks, Logan Gabel, Brett Ouellette, Mitch Finkbiner, Denver Wik and captain Brett Muhlbach, with a pair.
In a preview of the opening round of the playoffs, the league-leading Daysland Northstars were at the Big Valley Agriplex on Saturday in a well-played and physical game with standout goaltending.
After 20 minutes, neither team could find the back of the net, despite the Oil Kings outshooting the Northstars 11-5.
Daysland struck twice within the first eight minutes of the second period on goals by Erickson and Petiot.
At 14:42 of the second period, Oil Kings’ David Skagen narrowed the margin to 2-1 on a set-up from Shanks and Houston. Skagen has produced over a point per game while with the Big Valley senior club.
Big Valley showed persistence against the league leaders, battling back to tie the affair. At 1:52 of the third period, Oil Kings’ Brett Ouellette delivered a nice saucer pass, on a 2-on-1, to Mitch Finkbiner, who converted his wrist shot top corner to beat Daysland’s Scott Garnett.
The game would need extra time to decide a winner. At 1:05 of overtime, Northstars’ defenceman Petiot scored the game-winner, and Big Valley picked up a single point.
After the hard fought game, Oil Kings’ head coach Scott Schell was pleased with the effort in the playoff preview.
“That’s playoff hockey,” Schell said. “It’s going to be won in the trenches.” Schell complimented goalie Chance Clark for his strong play on the weekend.
In what should be an exciting series, the Oil Kings start their 2013 playoff run in Daysland, with the first two games this Friday and Saturday.
Big Valley hosts the Northstars on Friday, Feb. 8, at 8:30 p.m. at the Agriplex.
The Oil Kings have been competitive against the Northstars throughout the season, especially on home ice.
The Oil Kings are excited to be entering the first round of the BRHL playoffs with some momentum.