The two hottest teams in the Alberta Junior Hockey League clashed Saturday night in Brooks as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons faced off against the reigning AJHL champion Bandits for the first time this season.
For a second night in a row, the Oil Barons were without several regulars and a strong Bandits side took advantage as they dumped the MOB 7-2, snapping the Oil Barons seven game winning streak and extending their own to eight games.
The Bandits used their speed to expose the Oil Barons who looked lost at times in their own end. The opening goal had all five MOB players on the right side of the rink leaving defenceman Carter Wolski wide open on the far side. Nolan Thompson fed Wolski who walked in and beat Eric Szudor on the far side to open the scoring 3:57 into the first period.
The Barons would tie the game 1:18 later on a powerplay when Shane Fraser banged in an Owen Reith rebound. The goal was Fraser’s 12th of the year. JC Thivierge picked up an assist on the goal, extending his point streak to five games.
The game remained tied for a mire 21 seconds as the Bandits caught the Oil Barons up ice and Simon Boyko flew down the left wing and beat Szudor on the glove hand to regain the Bandits lead.
Will Garin and Cale List would add goals late in the period to extend the Bandits lead to 4-1 after the opening frame. The Bandits led big on the scoreboard and on the shot clock as they outshot the MOB 25-8 in the period.
The game was put out of reach in the opening two minutes of the second period as the Bandits scored on their first two shots. Jake Theis and Matt Cassidy scored 15 seconds apart to open up a 6-1 lead.
That would be it for Szudor as he allowed six goals on 27 shots and was pulled for the second time this season. Chris Curr came in relief and kicked out 19 Bandit shots before the period was out.
The Bandits would get one shot past Curr in the third period when Nic Hamre deflected a Dennis Cesana point shot while on a powerplay. Curr made 28 saves in relief as the Bandits outshot the MOB 56-24 in the game.
A lone bright spot for the MOB was their powerplay as they finished 2-4, capitalizing on a late man advantage when Peter Tomaras popped in a rebound off the pad of Mitch Benson for his third goal of the year. Reith and Jackson Verstraete picked up helpers on the goal. The MOB have now scored a powerplay goal in five straight games.
The Oil Barons will finish up their road trip Sunday afternoon in Calgary against the Canucks. It will be their final game before the Christmas break. You can listen to all the action on Country 93.3 beginning with the pre-game show at 2:15 p.m. with Taylor Pope.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com