OKOTOKS, AB (August 30, 2013) — The defending national champion Brooks Bandits withstood early pressure from the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (2-3) on Friday night, coming away with a 5-1 win in the second game of the teams’ three-game set at a tournament in Okotoks.
An early shot lead for the MOB quickly evaporated after a shorthanded breakaway goal for Anthony Paskaruk nine minutes into the game, quickly followed up by a deflected centering pass that doubled the Bandits’ lead just under twelve minutes in.
The Barons knotted their only goal of the game after killing off a 1:45 five-on-three powerplay, when Jetlan Houcher beat Michael Frederick.
The game remained close until the late second period when Brooks began pulling away; first a power-play goal with less than 4 minutes left, then a Patrick Chore wrist shot just about a minute later to make it 4-1.
With 1:11 left in the middle stanza, Maddison Smiley goaltender Jesse Gordichuk, who had entered halfway through the game relieving Garrett Storms, for a 5-1 score, which would be the final.
“It wasn’t bad; it was better than yesterday,” said Barons head coach and GM Gord Thibodeau. “Started very well, did a better job I thought of creating chances.”
“Overall, better effort by some guys; status quo by some others.”
Thibodeau also addressed his recent trade for overage forward Brennan Saulnier – who may make his Oil Barons debut in tomorrow’s exhibition finale.
“He’s a skilled kid who’s got a little bit of toughness; very creative,” said Thibodeau. “Were we looking to add another forward? No, but you can’t pass up the opportunity.”
“Brennan was a kid that had expressed an interest in trying to come to us last year; we weren’t able to make a deal,” he added.
“You can’t teach skill level; guys have it – creativity, you can’t teach that stuff – and he’s got lots of that.”
The Barons will finish their exhibition schedule tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 PM against the Camrose Kodiaks, ahead of the home opener next Friday against Spruce Grove.
August 30, 2013