Bloom nets two as Barons push past Bobcats

Ryan Bloom had a pair of goals, including an overtime penalty shot, as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons edged the Lloydminster Bobcats 3-2 Friday night in Lloydminster.

“I thought we played hard,” said Oil Barons head coach and general manager Gord Thibodeau. “It was a tough game; a lot of penalties, a lot of stuff after the whistle. But we played hard, we played simple. The only part of our game that struggled was the powerplay, which was weak, but overall I liked their effort.”

Kevin Miller opened the scoring for the Oil Barons, getting the MOB on the board just 21 seconds into the game. Miller's marker —his first in since Feb.1— would be the only goal of the opening 20 minutes. At 6:17 of the second period, Patrick Geary got the Bobcats on the board by jamming the puck  past Tanner Jaillet and knotted the game 1-1. Just over a minute later, Bloom scored a beautiful goal to restore the Barons lead. Bloom took a stretch pass from John Teets and beat the Bobcats defenceman before scoring on Lloydminster goalie Devin Green through the five-hole. However, the Barons lead wouldn't last long as the Bobcats would take advantage of a 5-on-3 powerplay at 11:38 of the middle frame to tie the game 2-2. MOB forward Brennan Saulnier dropped the gloves with Tanner Dunkle of the Bobcats in the final minute of the second, with Saulnier getting the clear win.

Neither team would score again in regulation, so the two teams were headed to overtime. Just a couple of minutes into the extra frame, Bloom and Saulnier skated in on a 2-on-1 and Green made the save. But the Bobcats defender knocked his team's net off on the play and the referee decided that it was intentional, giving the Barons an overtime penalty shot. Bloom took the shot and beat Green over the shoulder with a back-hander to give the MOB the 3-2 win.

“On a penalty shot, there was no question who we were going to have take it,” said Thibodeau. “We felt confident that he could find a way. That's what your skilled 20-year-olds do, when they games on the line they take care of it and he did.”

Jaillet made 21 saves to earn his 30th win of the season.

With the win the Barons are one point behind the Spruce Grove Saints for first place in the North Division. The Oil Barons will finish up their regular season Saturday on the road against the Lloydminster Bobcats, while the Saints play Sunday against the Bonnyville Pontiacs.