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GALLERY: Spak's overtime heroics see Okotoks Oilers force Game 7

Okotoks Oilers edge Brooks Bandits 3-2 as BCHL Alberta semifinal goes the distance

The Okotoks Oilers played like their season was on the line and were rewarded for it.

Okotoks captain Dean Spak scored in overtime to secure a 3-2 victory in Game 6 of the BCHL Alberta Division semifinal after the Brooks Bandits rallied for two in the final six minutes of regulation.

“We came in the room in the intermission and it was super light,” Spak said. “We just said, ‘We win, we lose, we’ve got eachother’s backs.’

“We went in there, needed a winner and I got lucky there.”

At the 11:37 mark of the first overtime, the Oilers staved off relentless pressure from the Bandits and struck a counter for the win with Sam Hall’s point shot bouncing to Spak for a clean finish on the backdoor.

“I got a lucky bounce,” Spak said. “It hit me in the foot and I just saw the net wide open and I went for a slap and it went in.”

The victory pushes the best-of-seven set to Game 7, Tuesday night in Brooks.

In Game 6, an even first period saw the Oilers grow into the game in the latter half with their rush and speed game creating opportunities.

Sam Huck had the best chance of the opening frame with a partial breakaway during 4-on-4 play turned aside by Johnny Hicks late in the stanza.

The teams traded chances in what was largely a low event second period before Okotoks got its lead on special teams.

Spak crashed the net and potted a rebound on the powerplay with 1:02 left in the frame for the forward’s fourth tally of the postseason.

Okotoks doubled its advantage in the third period with rookie Thomas Matte springing Jagger Tapper on a breakaway with the fleet-footed centre completing the assignment with a silky fake shot backhand-forehand deke and five-hole finish with 12:30 left in regulation.

“I’ve been stumped on a couple of breakaways by him so I went with a new move there,” Tapper said.

But the Bandits, the top-seed in the division, were not going to away quietly.

Brooks cut the deficit in half with blueliner Quinn McCall’s point shot taking a bounce off an Oilers defender with 5:25 remaining.

The Bandits then struck for an equalizer with just 52 seconds on the clock as Nathan Free scored on a powerplay, a 6-on-4 with the extra-attacker, to force overtime.

“I think our team is really good at performing with our back against the wall,” Tapper added. “We really come out and try to give it our all.”

Rookie goaltender Christian Green made 38 saves for his sixth win of the playoffs.

“He’s been unbelievable,” Tapper said. “That was probably his best game all year and when we needed it the most, he stepped up big.”

Okotoks was down to 16 skaters with blueliner Rylan Brown and Connor Gourley out suspended and Jackson Rowland dressed, but unable to play in the contest.

The environment brought the best out of a shorthanded group.

“I loved all of it,” Spak said. “We had a short lineup, guys stepped up big time. (Kade) Turner was logging tons of minutes, our D played great, Greener was unbelievable and our three lines of forwards did their job all night.

“It was a total playoff game and we’re glad to get the win there.”

The Oilers sent a raucous crowd home happy on Sunday with 1,202 supporters at the Centennial Regional Arena creating a terrific playoff atmosphere for the Green and Gold.

“That was probably the best game I’ve played in,” Tapper said. “Energy-wise, the fans were great, we were all going and I think that really helped us get this win.”

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Remy Greer

About the Author: Remy Greer

Remy Greer is the assistant editor and sports reporter for and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact [email protected]
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