FORT MCMURRAY, AB (October 13, 2012) — Harry Hendrix (Calgary, AB) extended his goal streak to five games, and Ethan Wood (St. Albert, AB) notched his second AJHL win in net, as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (6-7-1) beat the visiting Grande Prairie Storm (6-5-2) on Saturday night.
“Overall, defensively we played pretty well,” said head coach Gord Thibodeau. “Once again, could've made it a bit more comfortable for ourselves finishing some chances. We had 19 scoring chances tonight; you've got to bury some pucks.”
“But, a good strong win.”
The MOB opened the scoring for the second consecutive night as Luc Lalor (St. Albert, AB) followed up on a Danny Gayle (Calgary, AB) shot and jammed it past Storm goalie Nick Kulmanovsky just over a minute into the game.
“So far he's producing,” said Thibodeau of Lalor's play so far. “He's done a good job all year of figuring out how to play. He's a smaller kid, but he competes well and plays in traffic, and that's what you need when you're an offensive player.”
Harry Hendrix (Calgary, AB) doubled the lead midway through the period, carrying into the offensive zone, driving wide against a defender, beating him, and sneaking a low shot past Kulmanovsky for his ninth point in the last five games.
“He's really produced well since that line [with Kevin Lacroix and Justin Fraser] has gotten together,” said Thibodeau of Hendrix. “Every night they're getting opportunities, and he's become an offensive weapon that other teams have to worry about, and that's what you want.”
The Storm got one back in the second period as Tanner Labbe was found alone at the side of the Barons net, worked his way in front and backhanded a shot past Wood on the powerplay.
It was the only one the Storm could get past the MOB netminder, who stopped 31 of 32 shots.
“It was unreal; I've never had as much fun in my life as I had tonight,” said a jubilant Wood.
“As the game wore on, it was way easier to play,” he added. “I think the first couple minutes, they definitely had a couple good chances, but I just stood my ground. After that, the defence did a great job of keeping them to the outside.”
“He did a real good job,” the coach said of his goaltender. “He was solid, he's improved over his previous efforts, he's starting to look more comfortable, and the thing I liked about him tonight, he stood up, his rebound control was pretty good, and that's an improvement for him.”
The Barons remain in second-last place in the AJHL North division but are only 1 point out of the next place, and 5 points out of second.
They get a full week's practice before returning for a home game Friday night against the Olds Grizzlys. Puck drop is at 8:00 PM with pre-game radio coverage at 7:45 on Country 93.3.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
3. Nick Kulmanovsky (35 saves on 37 shots)
2. Ethan Wood (31 saves on 32 shots)
1. Harry Hendrix (1 game-winning goal)