Barons end regular season with 2-0 home loss to Bonnyville (AUDIO)

FORT MCMURRAY, AB (February 27, 2013) — Two first period goals stood up for the Bonnyville Pontiacs on Wednesday night as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons dropped their final regular season game of the 2012-13 campaign 2-0 at the Casman Centre.

The MOB was once again playing with only 3 defencemen in the lineup, and a short bench overall, yet kept the game within reach until the dying minutes.

“The guys worked hard,” said head coach Gord Thibodeau, “and all we can ask right now is that we get effort. As I told the guys, if we get effort, and guys are working as hard as they can, and being honest in their game, then whatever transpires, transpires. We'll take the end result.”

The Barons actually outshot the Pontiacs in the opening frame 12-11 and mustered a bevy of high quality scoring chances that either just missed the Pontiac net or were stopped by stellar Bonnyville netminder Stephen Klein.

The only scoring came first at the 10:34 mark when a power play wrist shot by Jackson Dudley beat Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB), and then at 16:59 on a rebound goal by Sean Mostrom.

Despite being outshot 29-13 the rest of the way, the Barons held the Pontiacs off the scoresheet in a 38 save performance by Jaillet, with Klein registering a 25 shot shutout for the visitors.

“I'm pleased,” Thibodeau emphasized. “I thought we did a very good job of holding a very good hockey team in check. I wish we would have buried a few more of our chances, especially in the first; we had two or three where we were aloneĀ  on the goaltender; that makes a difference obviously.”

With the loss, the Barons finish the season with a 31-22-7 record, and for now remain in fourth place in the AJHL North.

The team ended the season without a win in its last 4 games, but Thibodeau cautioned against emphasizing that statistic.

“Regardless of what happens the last four – we lost five games in a row six years ago and won a league title,” he recalled. “It doesn't really matter what happens at the end of your regular season, it matters what your preparation is, and how you're ready to go a week or so from now.”

Thibodeau says he's more than happy with the way the team capped off a tumultuous year.

“There's no sense hanging your head here,” he said. “This has been a remarkable 60-game run for a lot of different reasons, and they should be extremely proud of what they've accomplished here since the deadline. Pat yourself on the back, take a look at it and say 'jeez, you know what, that was a good run', and now we get focused for what is the funnest part of the season.”

“We've got a chance; we're in the dance; and that's all you ask.”

Playoff schedule information will be posted on the team website as soon as it's made available following the conclusion of the regular season on Saturday night.

The Barons' opponent will depend on how Whitecourt, Grande Prairire and Drayton Valley fare in their final 2 regular season games this weekend.