The Fort McMurray Oil Barons used four powerplay goals to help propel them to a 6-3 win over the Grande Prairie Storm Saturday night at the Casman Centre.
The MOB got on the board early when Brendan Stafford potted a quick feed from Jack Hamly on the powerplay to open the scoring 1:15 into the first period.
The Barons held the lead until Vincent Milot-Ouellet replied for the Storm 8:50 into the second period on a powerplay. After three straight penalties to the MOB to start the frame, they finally found some flow on the next shift when Kole Gable found Reed Morison trailing the play. Morison placed a perfect shot into the top right corner to give him goals in back to back games to start the season.
“I thought that we were outstanding, in the first period we had the shots at 15-4 and for them having more powerplays I thought it was great for us to only give up four shots,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca. “As a coach you never like it when one team gets three or four powerplays then the other team gets three or four powerplays as you’re never able to get into a flow so for us to give up five powerplays and limit them to only 10 shots,I thought we were really good.”
The Storm would then have their turn parading to the penalty box and the MOB took advantage. Taner Miller snapped a cross-ice pass from Morison past Ethan Slobodzian to make it a 3-1 game. It was Miller again two minutes later finding a loose puck in the slot after a Peter Tomaras shot was blocked. Miller fired it home for his second goal of the game.
The Storm responded before the period was out on a nice move from Ethan Strang as he beat Chris Curr on the short side to cut the lead to 4-2.
Curr would draw the loudest ovation of the night for a second straight game making an acrobatic diving save to rob Zach Webb on the back door. “Curr in the second period makes that one stop diving across and if he can pull off one of those each and every game it’s going to make our year end video montage much easier,” said Keca with a laugh. Curr made 26 saves in the win.
The third period saw more penalties and as a Barons penalty expired, Ryan Conroy raced out of the box and chased down a puck. From in tight, Conroy pulled the puck around Slobodzian’s stick and tucked it in between his legs for his first goal.
Conroy would strike again moments later on a powerplay when his point shot found the back of the net through a screen and gave the MOB a commanding 6-2 lead. The Barons powerplay was firing on all cylinders as they finished the night 4-8 on the man advantage.
“One of the things that we challenged Conroy with at the start of this year coming into camp was that was he going to be somebody who could quarterback our powerplay and I think he adds another dynamic there with Taner Miller,” said Keca whose top defence pairing contributed four goals on the night. “You have to attack as a five man unit now a days, it’s not good enough to just have three good forwards and two defencemen who are going to defend and Taner (Miller) getting the two and Ryan (Conroy) getting the two is obviously big for our club.”
Grande Prairie would get a late powerplay goal from Zachary Okabe to finish off the scoring but the night belonged to the Barons as they start the season 2-0 and will now head out on the road for their next five games.
The Barons will be in Lloydminster Friday and Saturday and will then take on Bonnyville on Sunday.
Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 post game show.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines