The Fort McMurray Oil Barons headed south for their first three games in three nights road trip and kicked it off with a hard fought 3-2 win in Canmore against the Eagles.
The MOB (8-1-1) were led by a pair of third period goals from Will Conley and another strong performance between the pipes from Chris Curr who made back to back starts for the first time in his young AJHL career.
The Eagles (6-6-0) came in red hot, having won their previous four games while outscoring their opponents 24-11. Canmore looked to capitalize on a late powerplay in the first period but it would be the Oil Barons finding a way to open the scoring.
Shane Fraser put pressure on Eagles goalie Thomas Davis whose clearing attempt went off his own defenceman and into the corner. Fraser tapped the puck to the right point to Curtis Roach and headed to the front of the goal. Roach’s shot was deflected by Fraser past Davis for his 4th goal of the season and the team’s 3rd shorthanded goal of the year.
“He gets that first goal because he battles down in the corner and he kicks it back to Roach and heads hard to the net and he gets a deflection so you like when those types of guys get rewarded,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca of Fraser’s goal.
The Oil Barons looked to be heading to the dressing room up a goal but some careless play in their own zone in the final seconds allowed Coy Prevost to tie the game with 0.4 seconds left in the period when he poked in a loose puck in the crease past Curr.
“Communication was an issue in our own zone, there were a couple plays there where we could’ve made an easy play but this is a tough building to play in and full credit to Canmore they came hard and I was very impressed with their pursuit of the puck,” said Keca.
The MOB took the lead early in the third period when Conley found some space in the high slot. Roach slid down the right boards and fed Conley who fired a quick shot through the legs of Davis for his 9th goal of the year.
The Eagles didn’t quit and continued to push for an equalizer and found one with 5:30 left in the third when Alex Young beat Curr from the top of the face-off circle.
The Oil Barons looked like they were destined to head to overtime for the third time in four games until Jack Hamly found Conley sneaking in behind the Eagles defence. Hamly flipped a pass over the defenceman’s stick and hit Conley in stride at the Eagles blueline. Conley deked to the backhand and buried his second goal of the period past Davis with 1:43 left. The goal was the 20 year old’s 10th of the year and 5th in his last three games.
“I think that he’s getting better and better and I mean Will is a goal scorer but I wouldn’t classify him as a natural goal scorer because he gets so many opportunities it would be scary,” said Keca of Conley’s play early in the season. “He’s such a valuable player for us, he eats a lot of huge minutes, he’s the guy who wants to be the key player, he wants to be relied on in key situations and I think he did a great job for us.”
Curr made 30 saves in the win and picked up his third win of the season.
The Oil Barons continue their road trip Friday night when they take on the 10-0-0 Okotoks Oilers. You can listen to the game beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. with Taylor Pope on Country 93.3.
MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 pre-game show.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.