By Trevor Howlett/ Fort McMurray Today
The Fort McMurray Oil Barons were simply too much for the Drayton Valley Thunder to handle Tuesday night, as the MOB blanked the Thunder 3-0 at the Casman Centre. The shutout was the Oil Barons 11th of the season, tying the AJHL record for shutouts by a team in one season, which was previously set by the 2009-10 Spruce Grove Saints and the 2005-06 Oil Barons.
“For the most part we were solid,” said Oil Barons head coach and general manager Gord Thibodeau. “I thought that again we left too many chances on the table, because we had a lot of scoring chances. I thought we did a pretty good job defensively, had a couple of breakdowns, but for the most part it was a pretty solid game.”
The Oil Barons scored one goal in each period in Tuesday's win. Ryan Bloom got the MOB on the board first at 13:30 of the first period, finding a loose puck in front of the net and putting it past Thunder goalie Marc Olivier Daigle. The MOB held the visitors to just four shots on goal in the first period and while putting 14 on Daigle.
Mitch Vanderlaan scored a powerplay goal in the second period by managing to get a stick on Jetlan Houcher's original shot to make it 2-0. The game's final goal came at 5:52 of the third period, when a Thunder defender mishandled the puck in front of the net and Adam Durkee fired it home for his 23rd of the season.
Goaltender Jesse Gordichuk made 24 saves for the Oil Barons to earn his fifth shutout of the season, but he gives a lot of the credit to the defensive play of his teammates.
“I thought I played alright, but the boys helped me a lot,” said Gordichuk. “Only allowing four shots in the first, that's a good sign that we're all working together and being creative out there.”
Affiliate player Danton Davis played on the wing for the Barons in Tuesday's win, wearing No. 10 and appearing in his sixth game with the Barons. Thibodeau said the 17-year-old had a “solid game” and hasn't looked out of place.
“He's a kid that's got a lot of speed,” said Thibodeau. “He's smart and knows where to go and he's very pleased with how he's playing when he comes up.”
Tuesday's win finished off the Oil Barons regular season home schedule. The MOB will hit the road this weekend to play their final two games of the season against the Lloydminster Bobcats on Friday and Saturday. Puck drop for both games is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Photo credit: Trevor Howlett/Fort McMurray Today