Outshot by a 30-16 margin heading into the third period tied at one a piece the Fort McMurray Oil Barons could once again thank Ravi Dattani for keeping them in another contest against an imposing Lloydminster Bobcats team. Ravi’s magic would run out early in the third as Zac Giroux scored the game-winner and the insurance goal within the first 5:42 of the final frame in a 3-1 losing effort for the MOB.
“I’m going to be honest, Ravi was great but I was extremely proud of the entire team I thought that we had a great effort from everybody considering the amount of injuries that we had before the game and then Cody Hodgson played one shift then he was out,” said Head Coach Tom Keca. “So for our guys to pull together and give that type of effort we couldn’t have asked for anything more and I’m extremely proud of the group.”
Dattani ended up stopping 38 of 41 shots faced, while Bobcats netminder Alex Leclerc turned aside 23 of 24 shots.
The Oil Barons were without three of their top five scorers last night, Landon Welykholowa and Jackson McKinstry are both hurt, and Mark Drohan is spending quality time with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.
Even without some of their top guns the MOB were in the game right until the end, Austin Holmes had two breakaways, hitting a post and firing wide after outwaiting Alex Leclerc, Ben Sharf hit iron when he was sprung all alone as well.
“They had a lot of shots but I thought that we had some good quality scoring chances we had two or three breakaways we had a two-on-one our guys worked extremely hard.”
Lloydminster opened the scoring 7:01 into the first period as their newly acquired winger Kris Spriggs, formerly of the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks beat Dattani with a perfectly placed snapshot off the far post.
Young guns stepping up
Dylan Rauh tied the game just minutes later, off a nifty feed from Shane Fraser to find the Colorado native all alone in front. Rauh continues to get better game after game and he had one of his best performances of the season playing on the second line alongside Connor McCallum and Austin Holmes.
“He’s [Rauh] what we want to see as a coaching staff when you pick a rookie or a first year player in the development that he’s shown over the course of the year. Now not only is he showing it in practice it’s translating into success during games. He hounds the puck, he’s getting more physical, he’s getting more confidence,” said the Head Coach. “He’s the type of kid that you love to work with he’s like a sponge and it’s good to see him get rewarded for his hard work.”
Rookie defenceman Josh Bishop picked up his first AJHL point on the goal with a secondary assist.
Last night also marked Grant Morford’s first Junior ‘A’ game, the newly inked 19-year-old defenceman out of Yorba Linda, California was signed this week after practicing with the club in an effort to fill the void left by Kyler Newman’s injury and Drohan’s departure to the WHL.
“I thought he was good, I thought he moved the puck, very smart I thought that the game moved a little quicker than what he was used to. He’ll be maybe one of those guys that gets better once he gets into a little bit better condition, he played well.”
Injury ward grows
With the injury to Hodgson in the first period the Oil Barons have recalled ’98 forward Mac Mindus from the Knights of Columbus Pats of the AMHL. Mindus was one of the later cuts from MOB camp this spring and has five points in nine games this year. Tanner Miller is a game-time decision with an upper-body injury.
Neither team converted on the power-play the Oil Barons had two opportunities, Lloydminster had three.
The two clubs meet again tonight for the third of six games this season, puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. you can tune into the pre-game show on ROCK 97.9 starting at 7:15 p.m.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.