The Okotoks Oilers aren’t going away quietly.
Tanner Laderoute’s powerplay marker late in the third period was enough to keep Okotoks’ playoff hopes alive as it staved off elimination in a 2-1 Game 4 victory Thursday on home-ice to avoid the sweep at the hands of the Camrose Kodiaks.
“It feels really good to win when your back is against the wall,” Laderoute said. “You always seem to play like your life is one the line, that always helps a little bit.”
On a elimination night of misfires and limited scoring opportunities one bounce either way was going to make a major difference.
Laderoute owned both of the hosts’ best scoring opportunities in the opening period on a partial breakaway and later on a two-on-one with both chances going wide. Camrose’s Tanner Younghans then nearly put the visitors on the board yet also fired wide on a clearcut breakaway.
Matt McNair finally broke the scoreless deadlock just over two minutes into the middle frame when he got his stick on a seeing-eye point shot from blueliner Jordan Davies.
Within five minutes it was back even as Kodiaks winger Cole McBride fired one into the top corner shorthanded on a controversial tally which was originally waved off.
Okotoks had ample opportunity to jump back in-front with a near two minute 5-on-3 advantage late in the middle stanza with nothing to show for it.
The Oilers made good on their ninth and final powerplay opportunity of the tilt as Riley Mathies’ point was poked in by Laderoute for his second game-winning-goal of the playoffs with 7:34 on the clock.
“Just getting touches on the powerplay is building momentum,” Laderoute said. “Even if you don’t score on them you get a lot of good passes, good chances it gets you going.
“You think next time we’re going to get it. You just have to keep pushing.”
Riley Morris made 29 saves in goal for the Okotoks netminder’s best performance of the second-round set. Okotoks killed off all six of its shorthanded situations in Game 4.
On the heels of its two best games of the series, the green-and-gold feel momentum is on their side as the squad readies to get back on the road.
“We’ve just got to play our same game,” Laderoute said. “And bring everything we’ve got again.”
Game 5 is back in Camrose on March 26. Should the Oilers force a Game 6, it’s scheduled for March 28, Easter Monday, at Pason Centennial Arena.
For more information go to okotoksoilers.ca