The curse is lifted.
The Fort McMurray Oil Barons beat the Drumheller Dragons in an incredibly dramatic 5-4 overtime victory thanks to an Austin Holmes power-play marker.
Fort McMurray saw two one-goal leads disappear in the third period as Drumheller continued to claw back into the game.
“We would’ve liked to get it done in regulation but obviously there’s better way than overtime, it’s pretty exciting,” said Oil Barons Captain Tyler Dea on the ROCK 97.9 post-game show.
The Dragons took a 2-1 lead midway through the first period with goals from Isaac Schacher and a gorgeous tip-in from Jacob Schofield on the power-play. Jackson McKinstry burning down the left wing tied the game heading into the second frame at 14:23.
In the second period Shawn Weber gave the MOB a 3-2 lead at the 6:05 mark.
It was the first time this season where the Oil Barons carried the majority of the play, although again the third period was a struggle. A busy third period saw Drumheller’s Andrew Kartusch and Connor Boyd score, a MOB marker from Austin Holmes at 12:24 mean the game was off to over-time where Holmes played the part of hero just 2:40 in on the power-play.
The Oil Barons outshot Drumheller 34-28 and went two for five on the power-play.
“We worked on it [power-play] a lot yesterday in practice so we felt confident going into the game that our power play was going to be rolling for us and it was early on. When you’re confident and desperate for a win you know that guys are going to step up big time,” said Dea. “You get this feeling that maybe tonight is going to be the night and it was.”
A young team featuring 13 rookies finally figured out just how much you have to give to get a win. The club has been in tight games all year and the poor record coming into the match against Drumheller certainly wasn’t indicative of Oil Barons’ level of play.
“Considering the circumstances this point in the season we were 0-8-3 you feel like the odds are stacked against you and you’re staring way up at those standings, so to finally get the monkey off the back and get the curse away from [Karp]it’s big, I think I jumped probably three or four feet in the air, I got pretty high.”
Head Coach Tom Keca stressed following every game that it was about baby steps, small improvements each game that would eventually lead to a win, but for the players the win couldn’t come soon enough.
“The guys are happy with improvement but obviously we’re in a results driven business and you’re looking for wins. It sort of keeps your spirits lifted in the sense that you know that eventually if we keep putting in this effort the results should come,” said the Captain.
Ravi Dattani was excellent again, although is workload severely diminished compared to previous games, he stopped 24 of 28 shots faced. Drumheller starter Jonny Hogue turned aside 29 of 34 shots against.
Keca made a trade just before game time sending 19-year-old forward Jordan Funk to the Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL for Cole Todd, a 6’2, 195lb forward who is in his final season of junior hockey at the age of 20.
An obvious connection for the deal is Oil Barons assistant coach Dave Dupas, who was an assistant in Prince George last year. Todd had 29 points in 53 games last season and won back-to-back BCMML championships in 2012 and 2013 with the Vancouver NW Giants. He’s expected to slot into Keca’s top-six.
Newly acquired forward Lindsey McLellan was solid in his first game for the MOB, he laid a few hits, had some scoring chances and brought some much needed physicality to the lineup.
The Oil Barons look to start a different kind of streak Saturday night, they can string together two wins in a row for the first time this year, against the Calgary Canucks puck drop is at 8 p.m. at the Casman Centre.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.
Photographer: Dan Lines