By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter
Their legs were tired as the final seconds from their third game of the weekend ticked down.
A timeout was seen as a break — a chance to refocus for the final 55.7 seconds up one goal.
But the Wheatland Athletic Association bantam Warriors couldn’t hold off the Okotoks Oilers any longer, and surrendered the tying goal with 14.3 seconds left in regulation.
“We should have won, but we had to settle for the tie. They were a little disappointed in there. Our guys were tired after a long weekend, but that’s just an excuse. We needed to put our nose to the grindstone to finish it out,” said Warriors Head Coach Cody Brown.
Warriors trailed 3-1 in the second and were in danger of getting skunked on a weekend that featured three South Central Hockey League games. Brown’s crew battled back to take the lead, when Jarred Schrock jammed away at a tentatively covered puck by an Oiler defenceman. Nobody knew where the puck was but Schrock, so when it broke free, everyone was standing around as he took the puck to his backhand and roofed his second of the season with 4:51 remaining in the third. Jerrin Hendricks and Philip Raycroft picked up assists.
Then, with less than a minute remaining, the Oilers (1-1-2) called a timeout. Brown took that time to review the basic mindset for being out there with an empty net.
“We didn’t know what exactly (the Oilers) were going to do. We knew that they were going to pull their goalie for an extra guy, so we reminded them not to get tied up with anyone, keep your head on a swivel and to find the most dangerous guy,” said Brown.
For 41.4 seconds, the Warriors (1-3-1) were doing their job.
Corey Ross, who made a remarkable save on an Oiler three-on-one rush with five and change to play, was trying to find the puck with a pile of bodies crashing around the net.
J.J. Pickell got his stick on the loose puck, saving the game for his Oilers.
It was a sour taste to end a less-than-memorable weekend for the Warriors.
Hendricks netted a goal and an assist, as the Warriors fell 5-2 to the Bow Valley Timberwolves (1-3-0) Sept. 30 at Cochrane Arena. Ryder Many Grey Horses got his solid weekend with a two-goal outing in a 6-3 loss to the Foothills Bisons (1-1-0) Sept. 29 at the Strathmore Family Centre.
For the Warriors, this marked the first games of the season with their captaincy set in place.
Defenceman Chase Tewit was selected as the captain, as one of the few returning players. Serving as alternates will be Lachlan Stewart, Hendricks and Domenic Ficaccio.
“We had Chase last year and saw him develop a ton. He came in this year with more swagger and the rest of the boys look up to him. He’s solid on the blue line and it was an easy choice for us,” said Brown. “The other guys are all leaders on and off the ice. They come in ready to work every day, they bring their best effort and they are all someone the rest of the guys look up to.”
The Warriors are home for a pair of games this weekend, as they host the Olds Grizzlys (1-0-1) Oct. 6 (7:30 p.m.) and Medicine Hat Hounds (2-1-0) Oct. 8 (1:30 p.m.) at the Family Centre.
The defending provincial champion midget Chiefs took to the ice last weekend in a pair of games to open their season.
The Bow Valley Timberwolves (2-0-0) stunned the Chiefs with a 5-2 shocker Sept. 29 in the Chiefs season opener at Cochrane Arena.
The Chiefs trailed 4-0 entering the third, when Lucas Muenchrath netted the squad’s first goal of the season from Cole Berg and Jared Kirkpatrick. Twenty-five seconds later, Rylan Longmuir popped in his first from Ty Skehar and Brady Skiffington.
The Chiefs bounced back with a sound 5-2 win over the Foothills Bisons Oct. 1 at the Bob Snodgrass Recreation Centre.
The Bisons (0-3-0) were among the worst teams in the league last season, and the Chiefs (1-1-0) blew by them with a flurry of goals in the second period from Bailey Filkohazy, Stran Red Crow and Skehar, all within 1:15 of each other.
Muenchrath sandwiched the second-period surge with one in the first and one in the third, as Ethan Rycroft stopped 16 shots for the win.
Strathmore will get its first look at the defending champs Oct. 7 when they host the CBHA Blackhawks (1-0-0) at 4:45 p.m. The Chiefs will also host the Airdrie Lighting (1-1-0) Oct. 8 (4:15 p.m.) at the Family Centre.
Just one game for the peewee Braves last weekend, as they fell 3-1 to the Red Deer Parkland Transmission Oct. 1 at Kinex Arena.
Connor Radke put the Braves up early in the first from Charles Goll. The lead stood for 27:11, until Red Deer (3-1-0) closed out the game with three straight goals.
The Braves (1-2-0) hit the road this weekend, as they take on the Cranbrook BP Wings (2-2-0) Oct. 7 at Western Financial Pace, followed up with a stop in Taber Oct. 8 to battle the Taber Golden Suns (0-2-0).
The Braves will return to the Family Centre Oct. 14 when they welcome the Lethbridge Hurricanes Red (2-0-1) to town.