Submitted by Brent Forster, Big Valley Oil Kings
SENIOR HOCKEY – The Big Valley Oil Kings put forth a good effort in their two weekend Battle River Hockey League games, but came up short in each game by one goal.
In Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Hardisty Stampeders, both teams displayed strong defence and goaltending, resulting in a scoreless opening period.
The Stampeders opened the scoring a minute into the second period on a goal by Chad Marchand, who has 18 points in just five games. Hardisty went up 2-0 at 13:15 on a power-play goal by Trevor Bromby.
Oil Kings captain Brett Muhlbach cut the lead to one goal with an unassisted marker with 2:26 remaining in the period.
Former Innisfail Eagle Chad Benoit tied the score early in the third period on a feed from Oil Kings rookie Dylan Muhlbach and defenceman Aaron Neumeier. With 5:29 remaining in the final period, Hardisty’s Cam Dion scored the winner on a power play.
The Oil Kings also lost 3-2 on Saturday when they faced the Sabres in Sedgewick. Big Valley fired 36 shots at Sabres goaltender, Jordy Cox.
Sedgewick opened the scoring on a Jeff McNeil power play goal at 15:44. The Sabres held the lead until late in the second period when former University of Lethbridge Pronghorn Austin Davenport scored on the power play to pull the Oil Kings even. Assists went to Cochrane native Dave Sissons and hometown rookie Dylan Muhlbach, who has four points in four games.
The Sabres went ahead 2-1 on a goal by former British Columbia junior A skater Dru Morrison at 11:56 of the third period. Sedgewick expanded its lead less than a minute later when Patrick Tran found the back of the net.
With his second goal in the past two games, Big Valley native Brett Muhlbach closed the gap to 3-2 with a power-play goal. Davenport picked up his second point of the game with an assist on the Muhlbach goal.
Despite close setbacks last weekend, the Oil Kings’ players and staff remain confident in the defensive system employed this season.
This Saturday, the Oil Kings host the Provost Blades at 7:30 p.m.
Big Valley faces off against Sedgewick for the second time in eight days at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Big Valley Agriplex.