DRAYTON VALLEY, AB (January 24, 2013) — Adam Durkee (Lafayette, CO) scored twice, and Jetlan Houcher (Paradise Valley, AB) registered two points, as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons came back from a 3-1 deficit with 6 consecutive goals to beat the Drayton Valley Thunder 7-3 on the road Thursday night.
“I thought we started off pretty well,” said head coach Gord Thibodeau. “But there was a point in the second period – we got down 3-1, and it was kind of a true test time – you've got to step up, or you're gonna get buried, and we stepped up.”
The Barons finished the season series 4-2 against DV, with the final match being the most lopsided of the six.
The MOB opened the scoring off of Durkee's first of the night, a one-time shot from the side of the Thunder net off of a centring pass from behind the net by Kyle Campbell (Fort McMurray, AB).
But the Thunder responded with three consecutive goals – two in the first, and one early in the second; the first a Jordan Baillie one-timer off of a cross-slot pass from Tyler Hart, the second a Shane Brolly conversion of a net-front scramble, and the third a Mason Malkowich fourth-chance opportunity from in front of the MOB net after goaltender Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) had stopped three point-blank opportunities.
Jaillet would let no further pucks through, though, as he backstopped his team to the win and evened his record at the .500 mark.
The comeback was cued midway through the second period when the Barons converted on a net front scramble and Taylor Graham (Calgary, AB) was credited with the final touch.
Minutes later, Adam Durkee received a pass from the left-wing corner off of Parker Evans-Campbell and one-timed it past Mitch Maraschiello to knot the game at 3 goals a piece.
“I thought he was real strong tonight,” said Thibodeau of Durkee. “Not only offensively, but he did a good job I thought in his own end, and we kind of had to double shift him there a little bit – we were running out of bodies in the third.”
“He went to the net hard today, got himself a couple – should have had a third, I thought on that breakaway [in the third period], but he's a guy that's certainly benefitted from some extra ice time.”
That Durkee goal paved the way for Houcher to register his first point, when John Teets' powerplay shot was saved by Maraschiello, but the rebound came straight to #24 of the MOB, whose shot deflected off of linemate Hayden Dawes (Stony Plain, AB) and into the back of the net for the eventual game-winner.
Houcher then stunned the crowd with a highlight reel breakaway goal early in the third, moving from his forehand to his backhand, and flipping the puck over a downed Maraschiello to double the MOB lead. The play was made possible by a stellar lead pass from Parker Evans-Campbell (High River, AB).
“The breakaway goal was unreal,” said Thibodeau. “Great pass by Evans-Campbell, but Jetlan made a great move there to finish that.”
“It was pretty easy to know what I was going to do,” recalled Houcher. “I've been doing that play as long as I can remember – every breakaway, that's my move.”
The Thunder soon got sloppy, turning over a puck to Justin Fraser (Hussar, AB) in the high slot, who fed Scott Pooley (Granger, IN) at the side of the DV net for a one-time goal and a 6-3 lead.
Another Drayton Valley miscue helped cap off the scoring, when Mike Marianchuk (Innisfail, AB) capitalized on a 2-on-1 rush, wiring a wrist shot past Maraschiello for the seventh goal of the night.
For Fort McMurray, it was the best road offensive performance of the entire season, and bodes well for two vital road games in Whitecourt coming up Friday and Saturday nights.
“It's a great thing about hockey – you can't rest on your laurels,” Thibodeau added. “You've got to go out tomorrow and prove that this wasn't a fluke. We'll get a very strong test in Whitecourt but, there's some very good signs there.”
The Barons did get good injury news as forward Jordan Clark (Parksville, BC) made his season debut and defenceman Mike Green (Fort Saskatchewan, AB) returned from a lengthy injury hiatus. However, bad news abounded after defenceman Zach Wittenburg (Chestermere, AB) blocked a shot in the second period and left the ice gingerly; Thibodeau said he's doubtful that #21 will be back in the lineup, but couldn't confirm his status yet.
Game time Friday night is 7:30 from the Scott Safety Centre, with pre-game coverage starting at 7:15 on Country 93.3.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
3. Justin Fraser (2 assists)
2. Adam Durkee (2 goals)
1. Jetlan Houcher (1 goal, 1 assist)