11 Mar OHA Keep Up Pressure at Top
Saturday saw the Basingstoke Bison U18’s as the visitors to the Link center for the teams fourth and final match up of the season. With OHA having taken the three wins, but all in tight games.
The opening exchanges of the first period were fairly even, with the game starting at a high pace and both teams creating early offence in the first few minutes. OHA were given the first power-play of the game after the eight-minute mark, and although had great control couldn’t create the killer chance to open the scoring. Okanagan were starting to control large periods of the period and getting several good chances as they put a lot of pucks on net. It took until the 13th minute before the deadlock was broken. Aaron Moody scoring after good build up from Leo Pennisi and Joe Llewellyn. First period ending at just 1-0 although the academy outshot their guests 17-3.
Second period saw a great opening shift from Oli Endicott, Josh Shaw and Cain Russell creating early pressure and really working hard in the Bison zone. And at 23.01 it was this line that doubled the lead. Again a great energetic shift from the three forwards, created a chance, and Cain Russell finished strongly off a fed from Oli Endicott. Just 9 seconds later the lead was 3-0. Aaron Moody moving the puck to Jack Goodchild off the face-off who finished calmly. End of second period OHA leading 3-0.
Third period the Okanagan team were caught by a Bison team who came out flying for the opening face-off. Basingstoke scores 2 goals in the opening 56 seconds to reduce the game to just a one goal lead and all to play for. OHA calmed the game back down and went back looking for a goal to open up the lead. And it took until the final ten minutes before they found it. Oli Endicott with a calm finish after a pass from Bow Neely and build up from Josh Shaw. Basingstoke pushed hard in the final minutes, and while on a power play, Bayley Harewood fired a strong shot to the top corner to beat Max Licht and pull the game back to 4-3. IN the last-minute Basingstoke managed to pull their netminder for an extra skater as they went looking for the goal to tie the match but the Okanagan defence held out as they took the game 4-3 at the final buzzer. The win took OHA to first place in the table overnight. But with a Guildford win the following day the teams are back to tied for first place with seven games remaining. And the teams meet next, this Saturday in Guildford, face-off 6.20pm.
Okanagan Head Coach Ryan Aldridge said “It’s a win and two points but not the level of performance we wanted. Certainly after how well we performed as a group last week in Slough we really hoped for a better display. However, the team stuck at it, and even when challenged hard in the third period, dug in and battled hard to make sure no points were lost today, and we move on. It still keeps our run of form since December going, and set’s up the game versus Guildford next week nicely. We will have a big week in practice now and we prepare for that match-up”
Man of the match for OHA was Josh Shaw with a hard working performance.