The Blackfalds Bulldogs and Olds Grizzlys came into Tuesday night’s game in contrasting runs of form; for Blackfalds, their last nine games to date had seen them go 7-1-1. Conversely, the Olds Grizzlys had lost their previous eight games. Both teams had won once in their two previous matchups on the season, with Olds winning 3-1 in September and Blackfalds winning 6-5 in overtime on October 15.
Brett Meerman opened the scoring 38 seconds into the first period, taking a sweeping feed from Tyler Wallace and beating Noah Nelson to give him his tenth of the year and Blackfalds a 1-0 lead. Spencer Bell scored just four minutes after, followed later in the first by Jake Geraci pounding a one-timer past Nelson for his first AJHL goal. Colby Browne forced the puck into the back of the net after a scramble in front of Charlie Zolin’s net. Just sixty seconds later, Tyler Wallace was slashed on a breakaway, presenting him with a penalty shot opportunity that he converted, sliding the puck through Nelson’s five-hole, giving Blackfalds a 4-1 lead through one.
Logan Neilson opened the scoring in the second period, picking the top corner on a two-on-one to give Olds a bit of life at 4-2, but the Bulldogs would score three goals in the following six minutes to put the game out of the Grizzlys’ reach. Bill Gourgon tipped home a beautiful Layne Loomer pass to make it 5-2, followed by Wallace converting a feed from Jason Siedem to give the Bulldogs their sixth, before Connor Dick notched a shorthanded goal, making a beautiful move in tight to tuck a backhand shot behind Nelson.
The Bulldogs came into the third period ready to see out the game and really played a good final 20 in front of their goaltender, allowing the Grizzlys to get just four third-period shots. Gourgon tipped Ashton Funk’s point shot to give him his second of the game and make it 8-2 before Kody Willick finished off a breakaway to give Blackfalds their ninth.
Charlie Zolin made 21 saves on 23 shots in the victory, earning his fifth win of the year. Blackfalds earns their third straight victory and go to 8-3-1 in the month of October, moving back to within two points of the Camrose Kodiaks for second place in the South Division. The Bulldogs move into the second game of their four-game home stand on Friday, hosting the Fort McMurray Oil Barons at the Eagle Builders Centre.