Photo credit: Xander Holcomb, Blackfalds Bulldogs
With the Okotoks Oilers prevailing 6-1 over the Whitecourt Wolverines, the Blackfalds Bulldogs needed two points out of Canmore Friday night to remain level with the Oilers for second place in the AJHL’s south division standings. Blackfalds has had success against Canmore this season, winning each of the two teams’ four previous meetings. Charlie Zolin’s unavailability due to injury meant Matthew Hennessey made his fourth straight start, matching up against Matthew Malin in between the pipes for Canmore.
Matthew Malin, however, only lasted six and a half minutes in net, as early goals from Layne Loomer, Jason Siedem, and Connor Dick chased the Canmore goaltender. Dick and Jake Geraci both scored to make it a 5-0 game after one. Dick would complete his hat trick in the second period, scoring three goals on three perfect shots to take the rookie to 17 on the season. Meerman’s 29th made it 7-0 before the third, and in the third, two more completed Layne Loomer’s hat trick, paired with a second goal of the night for Jason Siedem. Emanuel Hudson scored on Hennessey in the third period to get Canmore on the board, but Blackfalds would end up winning the game 10-1, their biggest margin of victory in franchise history.
Blackfalds and Okotoks’ victories Friday night mean they have identical 33-18-3 records going into Saturday night’s head-to-head between the two teams. After Saturday, both Blackfalds and Okotoks will have five games apiece left this season. A regulation win for either Saturday night, especially considering the varying difficulty of both teams’ remaining schedules, could mean a stranglehold on second place.