Wilson scores, Gratton stops 35 as Oilers clipped by Blackfalds

OKOTOKS, AB (March 24, 2024) — Despite Brett Wilson (Calgary, AB) scoring his 22nd goal of the season less than three minutes into the first period, the Okotoks Oilers dropped a close 2-1 decision against the Blackfalds Bulldogs on Sunday night.

The Oilers outshot their opponents 36 to 19 in the weekend clash, including 31 to 13 in the first two periods, but were unable to beat Blackfalds goaltender Gabe Gratton a second time after Wilson broke through early in the game.

Sam Huck (Calgary, AB) and Connor Gourley (Calgary, AB) recorded the assists on Wilson’s goal, which was also his team-leading eighth since the Oilers officially made the transition into the BCHL in February. The rookie forward found the puck at the side of the Blackfalds net and managed to deposit it past a down-and-out Gratton to give the Oilers the lead.

After holding onto that 1-0 cushion for the rest of the first period and most of the second, the Oilers gave up a pair of goals in quick succession in the final three minutes of the middle frame.

After Carter Cormier beat Oilers starter Mikael Kingo (Burlington, ON) on a one-timer from distance at the 17:21 mark of the period, Brendan Ross scored his 44th goal of the season (and the eventual game-winner) from close range just 87 seconds later to give the visitors a lead they would not relinquish.

Blackfalds succeeded at holding the Oilers at bay for the third period, with the shots ultimately favouring the visitors 6 to 5 over the final 20 minutes. Save for one last-second chance against Gratton, the Oilers struggled to muster up anything of note in the third and ultimately fell by that very same 2-1 score.

The Oilers are now just one point back of Blackfalds for third place in the BCHL Alberta Division. Whichever team takes third place will end up bypassing the first round of the Alberta Division playoffs; the team that finishes in fourth will have to take on the Spruce Grove Saints in a best-of-five play-in series.

Now with just four games remaining in the 2023–24 regular season, the Oilers will return to action in Sherwood Park on Friday to take on the Crusaders at 7:00 p.m. MT.

Recap: Mike Gould
Photo: Chad Goddard