The Okotoks Oilers are playing a crucial game five tonight (April 26) aiming to take their first series lead against the Bandits in Brooks for their best-of-seven BCHL second round series, which is currently deadlocked at two games apiece.

The Green and Gold will need to string two wins together if they want to win the series against Brooks. After winning 4-1 on Wednesday (April 24) with the hat trick heroics from veteran forward Owen MacNeil, the Oilers have an opportunity to win tonight and then put the pressure on Brooks for game six back in Okotoks.

Head coach and GM of the Oilers, Tyler Deis has seen production for his team not only on the scoreboard but doing the small things that lead to scoring opportunities or keeping Brooks from playing their game. MacNeil is one of those players, while he scored a hat trick in game four, it's also the leadership qualities that he brings that helps the team.

"He's a guy that has played five years of junior hockey, so he has that experience. Especially playing a big game in a sense of where we are at in the series. Just having that veteran presence there and having him play a big game scoring those three goals," Deis said.

"Even if he didn't score those goals just having that presence of him being out on the ice, especially with some of our young guys, it's huge."

Jackson Rowland, forward for the Oilers, has also been a bright spot on the team, getting on the scoreboard with seven points in seven games so far in the BCHL playoffs, but he also used his body and is involved in every play when he hits the ice.

"Thats who he is, that's his identity. His game is always consistent, there is never any C games and very rarely any B games. Between his B games and his A games, they are pretty similar, he's as consistent as any player I have ever seen. When you have guys like that who play consistently, play the same way and do the right things, it's big for us," he said.

Jackson Rowland carries the puck into the Bandits zone.Jackson Rowland carries the puck into the Bandits zone.

Rookie forward Brett Wilson isn't getting on the scoreboard as much as he did during the regular season after putting up 17 points in 20 games during the regular season after the move to the BCHL, but he is another player who is noticeable for the small details he brings to the Oilers in this year's playoffs.

"Obviously he's a smaller player but he's strong and he's pretty thick. He likes that physical game, it's a part of his game and his identity. When he's not playing like that, then he's not as effective. His year has been tremendous, and his growth has been awesome," Deis said.

Brett Wilson making sure the pucks doesn't squeak through Christian Green.Brett Wilson making sure the pucks doesn't squeak through Christian Green

Thomas Matte and Allen Sherpa have been utilized on the fourth line during the playoffs injecting some energy and giving the top line veterans a little break during games playing effectively on the forecheck.

"At the end of the day their role in a sense is to give us that consistency, heavy on forechecks and being reliable out on the ice. They have given us really top minutes when they are out there and help the team out quite a bit," he said.

Thomas Matte safely playing the puck behind his own net in game four.Thomas Matte safely playing the puck behind his own net in game four.

During the four games against Brooks the scores have looked a little lopsided for both teams in their victory's. While the box score makes the games look like one team is controlling play, the games have actually been really close and haven't been indicative of the scoreboard.

"The two wins with us were obviously closer, and their two wins we felt that the games were a lot closer than what score was. It's a fun series, it's always fun to playing against Brooks. It's competitive, it's intense, it's a good rivalry and we enjoy playing them. Next game is another big game," Deis said.

Deis expects Brooks to be playing at their best tonight in game five, but the Oilers feel prepared to take another game on the road giving them a chance to put away the series back on home ice Sunday (April 28) for game six.

"It's going to be a tough one, they are going to come out pretty heavy. We were in this situation last year (being tied 2-2 with Brooks) so we need to learn from that situation that we were in. That first period is going to be a crucial period, we just to make sure our puck managements right, playing in all three zones and sticking to the structure that we have," he said.

While no team plays a perfect game and defensive breakdowns are inevitable, especially against a high skilled team like Brooks, the Green and Gold have been getting solid goaltending from Christian Green helping the whole team when breakdowns occur.

"At the end of the day it's that team defense, and obviously when we do have the breakdowns, his job when we screw up is to bail us out. He's done a great job and is a catalyst back there. He's giving us a chance to win every game which is what we want."

Christian Green with a blocker save in game four against Brooks.Christian Green with a blocker save in game four against Brooks.

Game five starts tonight at 7:00, with game six being held on Sunday in Okotoks and a possible game seven going back to Brooks on Tuesday (April 30).

You can listen to the games on the Eagle 100.9 or stream the game through the Okotoks Online app, pre-game shows will start at 6:45.