For the second time in four games, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and Bonnyville Pontiacs would need double overtime to decide a winner.
And for the second night in a row it was rookie Jarred White playing the role of the hero and scoring the game winning goal.
White fired home a Will Conley rebound 7:05 into the second overtime to send the MOB to a 3-2 win and a 3-1 series lead heading home for Game 5 Friday night at the Casman Centre.
“Whitey full credit to him for joining the play because a lot of guys would just say oh there goes Will (Conley) and changed or sat back but he comes in there and picks up the garbage,” said MOB head coach Tom Keca on the winning goal.
Conley picked up the puck in centre ice and blew across the Pontiac blueline. Defenceman Erik Donald stumbled as he tried to turn to match Conley’s speed and fell to the ice, allowing Conley to cut in on goal. His shot was stopped by Sandro Silvestre but the rebound came out to White who was following up on the play and he sent a shot up under the cross bar, erupting the MOB bench and silencing the RJ Lalonde crowd.
“I was pretty sure that he was going to score there so I said I might as well glide and follow it up and see what happens and luckily it came right out to me,” said White when he saw Conley busting towards the goal.
For the third time in the series it was the Barons who opened the scoring. A good forecheck created a turnover at the side wall where Stefan Wood sent a shot at the net. The rebound bounced around before falling to an open Nicholas Leeseberg who deposited his first goal of the playoffs.
The Barons doubled up their lead on a powerplay goal by Taner Miller four minutes later. The defenceman snapped a low hard shot from the point that beat Silvestre under the pad.
“I felt that we came out and had a great first period. We had them on their heels and it could’ve very easily been 3-0,” said Keca.
It very well could have as the Oil Barons scored a goal on a delayed penalty call when Matteo Aiello banged home a rebound in front. After the four officials discussed the play, the goal was disallowed and the penalty was taken away.
“I’ve never seen that before where you score on a delayed penalty and they not only wave off the goal but they take away the penalty. I’ve never ever seen that before,” said a perplexed Keca about the play.
The Pontiacs began to chip away at the two goal deficit early in the second period. Ryley Smith used his big 6’5 frame to power his way towards the MOB net and beat Eric Szudor though the five hole.
The game would remain 2-1 until mid-way through the third period. After about a 5 minute delay when maintenance crews fixed a broken pane of glass. Ten seconds after the restart, Isaac Saniga was left alone in front of the MOB net to beat Szudor and tie the game.
“There’s absolutely no panic, we have a lot of leaders that step up verbally,” said Keca on his leadership group. “Wood is very vocal, Roach, Ralph and Fraser and those guys and I mean they basically patrol themselves throughout the course of the game and nobody needs to tell our guys when they’re taking shifts off.”
The Pontiacs heavily outshot the MOB in the third period, outshooting them 20-7 but Szudor shut the door and sent the game to overtime. In the first overtime period, the Barons had two glorious opportunities. Brett Edwards deflected a Brandon Ralph pass just wide of the goal and then moments later Matteo Aiello sent a shot just wide from below the hash marks.
Silvestre made 49 saves in a losing effort in the Pontiacs goal while Szudor stopped 47 of 49 shots in the win.
“Everybody’s pretty up, we know they’re on their last legs so they’re going to try to give it all, try to get it back to Bonnyville. We’ll regroup tomorrow and hopefully come back at them and bring it to them again,” said White.
The MOB will look to close out the series Friday night at home at the Casman Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photographer: Dan Lines
Tom Keca recaps the massive win and holding a 3-1 series lead heading into Game 5 at the Casman Centre on Friday night.
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