It was a rare Tuesday night game for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons at the Casman Centre as they welcomed the Bonnyville Pontiacs to town.
The MOB were coming off their worst loss of the season as they were thumped 8-1 by the Sherwood Park Crusaders Saturday night and a quick turn around was exactly what the doctor ordered.
A back and forth contest that saw the MOB come out on top 6-5 in the shootout.
Both teams entered the game on three game losing streaks where they had each struggled to score. The Barons (5-9-1) had been outscored 16-3 in their previous three games while the Pontiacs (8-4-2) had been outscored 15-4.
In this game, both teams offences exploded and it started early. The Pontiacs opened up a 2-0 lead 6:32 into the game on goals from Chayce Schmidt and Austin Saint.
The Barons recorded their first shot of the night on a power play at the 7:39 mark when Brendan Stafford snapped a shot from the right wing. The shot went off a stick and found its way in behind Noah Amundson to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Pontaics restored their two goal lead when Lucas Thorne buried a loose puck in the crease on a Bonnyville power play at 10:36.
But the MOB didn?t quit and scored two goals in a 1:39 span to end the period and tied the game 3-3. Kabore Dunn rifled a shot off the back crossbar for his first career AJHL goal before setting up Hunter Leslie for his first goal in an Oil Barons uniform.
?He has an ability that most guys don?t have and natural so if he can figure out the little parts of his game, the sky?s the limit for him,? said MOB Assistant Coach Mike Brodeur on Dunn who had a goal and two assists in the game.
The Barons struck again 4:44 into the middle frame to take their first lead of the game when Kyle Pow?s point shot slipped through Amundson?s legs. That would be the end of the night for him as he was pulled for Easton Hesse after allowing four goals on 17 shots.
?We never gave up being down a couple goals early in the game, taking a bunch of silly penalties and setting ourselves back but we never quit and we just kept going and kept rolling and that?s going to build confidence for us moving forward,? said Brodeur on the win.
The Pontiacs capitalized on a Barons turnover at 13:16 when Daine Dubois broke in alone to tie the game 4-4.
But before the period was out, the MOB regained the lead. Ethan Jamernik cut into the slot and fired a shot towards the goal that hit Max Struss in the leg and ended up in the back of the net. The goal was Struss? first as an Oil Baron.
?They just do the little things and they keep things simple and you see them go to the net every game and to finally get rewarded with it, that?s great to see and that?s going to help them moving forward,? said Brodeur on Struss, Pow and Leslie contributing offensively in the win.
?They all rally for those guys and regardless of how it goes in whether it hits your leg, your butt, your face, whatever it might be ? everybody cheers and they?re all excited for that.?
The Pontiacs tied the game yet again 6:35 into the third period when Joshua Kroon buried his own rebound.
In overtime the teams traded chances and several big saves from Evan Fradette in the MOB goal kept the game tied. Fradette made 38 saves in the win.
In the shootout, after Fradette stopped all four Pontiac shooters, Ty Budai scored with a quick deke to the forehand to give the MOB their second shootout win of the year and get them back in the win column.
The MOB now head out on the road and will take on the Lloydminster Bobcats (1-12-2) Friday and Saturday. Both games are 7:30 p.m. puck drops. The MOB will finish their road trip Sunday afternoon in Bonnyville.
Written by: Taylor Pope
Photo by: Dan Lines