FORT MCMURRAY, AB (January 4, 2013) — The Fort McMurray Oil Barons (21-16-4) saw their two-game win streak come to an end at home Friday night, after a 5-1 loss to the nation's top team, the Brooks Bandits.
Despite the loss, the Barons committed the rare feat of outshooting the now 36-1 team, by a wide margin, 42 to 29.
“Regardless of what the shot clock is, it's a loss,” summarized head coach Gord Thibodeau. “I'm pleased with the way we played, though. We had a few breakdowns, but they're a skilled team; you can't give them second and third chances, and tonight we gave a few opportunities when we didn't clear pucks.”
The first period was a tightly played defensive affair, with only 10 total shots – 6 of them for the visiting Bandits. The only goal came at the 6:52 mark when Anthony Petruzzelli got himself space off of a spin move behind the Barons net, and came out in front wide open, tucking a puck past MOB goalie Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) for the opening goal.
The Barons outshot the Bandits 20-13 in the second frame, but ended up giving up two more goals – the first a Tanner Hicks marker from point blank range at 4:43, and then Petruzzelli's second of the night at 12:54 off of another wraparound from behind the net.
Mark Reners added a fourth goal at 7:57 of the third, in a period where the MOB again outshot the Bandits, this time 18-10. His came off a perfect pass from the left-wing halfboards by teammate Anthony Paskaruk, which Reners one-timed into the net from the right side of the net.
Just moments earlier, the Barons had misfired on a clear cut 2 on 1 rush, when a saucer pass from Adam Durkee (Lafayette, CO) to Doug Jones (Calgary, AB) was shot wide of the Brooks net.
“The frustrating part is that we had our chances too,” added Thibodeau. “That's the difference between their skill and our developing skill.”
The Barons finally spoiled the season series shutout bid of Brooks goalie Michael Frederick at the 14:18 mark, when Adam Wilcox (Alpharetta, GA) centred a puck from behind the net which ricocheted off of the goalie's pads and was lying in the crease, out of his sight. Defenceman Tyler Narsing gloved the puck out of the crease, and the Barons were awarded a penalty shot, for which Thibodeau selected the rookie forward who had generated the play.
Wilcox converted the opportunity, head-faking the Brooks goalie, and lifting a forehand shot high glove side to give the Barons their first goal against the Bandits in the entire season series.
It would be the only one of the season series, however, as Petruzzelli completed his hat trick with 49 seconds left in the game, chasing down a loose puck in the McMurray slot and wiring it past Jaillet for his third of the night.
“Overall, I thought we did a very good job in the d-zone,” said Thibodeau. “The scoreboard doesn't reflect that, but as a coaching staff we were pretty pleased with the way we played in our own end, and we're very pleased with the power play and the way we played offensively, we'd just like to see a few more goals, obviously.”
The Barons will look to rebound on Sunday afternoon in Sherwood Park when they take on the Crusaders at 2:15 PM. Pre-game coverage starts at 2 sharp on Country 93.3.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
3. Mark Reners (1 goal, 1 assist)
2. Anthony Paskaruk (2 assists)
1. Anthony Petruzzelli (3 goals)