WHITECOURT, AB (January 25, 2013) — The road success continues for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, as they snapped the Whitecourt Wolverines' 6-game win streak on their own ice, downing the #2 team in the North division 5-3 on Friday night.
Hayden Dawes (Stony Plain, AB) scored three points, and defenceman Mike Green (Fort Saskatchewan, AB) notched the game-winner in his second game back from injury.
“I think they started believing in themselves a little bit, and belief is a dangerous tool,” said head coach Gord Thibodeau. “Secondly, there was a lot of character out there, and that's something we haven't seen a lot on the road.”
It was a fast start for the underdog Barons, as rookie forward Jetlan Houcher (Paradise Valley, AB) scored just 2:33 into the game, picking the top-right corner on a wrist shot and beating Whitecourt goalie Anthony Terenzio.
Just over three minutes later, Dawes scored on a power-play rebound to double the lead at the 5:57 mark.
“I really thought the key to that line tonight was [Kevin] Miller,” said Thibodeau. “I thought he made some great plays in terms of keeping pucks alive, and beating guys in tight areas to keep it alive in the offensive zone, and subsequently he made passes that created offence for both Hayden and Jetlan.”
“The sky's the limit for those guys – they can really dominate this league at some point; I'm sure that's going to happen.”
But two offensive zone penalties would come back to haunt the MOB early, as Whitecourt's #2-ranked power-play went to work.
At 8:09, the league's leading scorer Mathieu Guertin snuck a shot from the right face-off circle between the pads of MOB goalie Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) to open the Whitecourt scoring, and on another powerplay at 11:31 Linden Penner tipped a point shot past Jaillet to knot the game after 2.
But another quick start in the second period paid dividends for the MOB, as a tenacious forecheck by forward Alex Cromwell (McKinney, TX) forced a turnover at the 1:48 mark, where a centring pass to Scott Pooley (Granger, IN) resulted in his second straight game with a one-timer goal, and a reclaimed 3-2 MOB lead.
But the newest Wolverine struck back at the 6:04 mark, when defenceman Dale Deon beat Jaillet on a 2-on-1 rush for his first goal in a Whitecourt uniform.
It took the Barons only 55 seconds to reclaim the lead, though, when Mike Green skated in along the left boards, cut to the bottom of the face-off circle, and threaded the needle with a perfectly placed wrist shot over the shoulder of Terenzio short-side for his first point of the season.
“I picked up the puck on the wall, and kind of beat my forward down,” Green recalled, “and just looked and said 'I've got to get this on net', and I saw the goalie was kind of crouching already, so I threw it upstairs, and luckily enough it went in.”
“To be honest, he's above the form that he was even earlier in the year when he was healthy,” said Thibodeau of Green. “He looks like a new man out there; he just looks very calm and patient with the puck, and maybe that time off was good for him.”
“What a boost it gives our defence when you have another puck mover – I know our
forwards love having him out there.”
The score remained 4-3 as time ran out in the second period, but a poorly timed penalty by former WHLer Charles Inglis of Whitecourt at the end of the frame allowed the MOB to start the third on the power-play. 1:22 into that man advantage, John Teets (Fairbanks, AK) capped off the scoring with a right-point wrist shot that rang off the outside post and in to chase Terenzio from the game and give the Barons a 5-3 lead.
The lead could have been wider if not for several missed breakaways by the MOB, including two post-hits by forward Justin Fraser (Hussar, AB).
“We scored five, and frankly could've had ten,” said Thibodeau. “I thought we had two or three breakaways there, and that's just not the type of offence that we've created in the past.”
The Barons went a convincing 2-for-4 on the powerplay while Whitecourt was 2-for-5. Jaillet stopped 26 of 29 shots for yet another win in net, moving his record above .500 for the first time this year.
The two teams battle again Saturday night at 7:30 at the Scott Safety Centre; pre-game coverage starts at 7:15 on Country 93.3.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
3. Mathieu Guertin (1 goal, 2 assists)
2. Mike Green (1 goal, 1 assist)
1. Hayden Dawes (1 goal, 2 assists)