Will Conley stole the show Saturday night as the 18 year old picked up his first career AJHL hat-trick and added two assists in a 7-2 rout of the Drayton Valley Thunder.
The MOB (18-4-1) dominated the game from the opening face-off. Utilizing their team speed and winning every race to loose pucks. The Thunder (3-13-4) just didn’t have an answer.
It was the overtime hero from a night earlier getting the Barons on the board first. Curtis Roach fired a shot through a screen on a powerplay 2:44 into the game that beat Joseph McLeod. The defenceman now has six goals on the year and three in his last four games.
The offence heated up in the second period. Brandon Ralph busted through the Thunder defence 49 seconds into the frame and roofed a shot past McLeod while shorthanded. The captain is tied for the team lead in goals with Conley at nine.
“He plays like an absolute beast everytime he’s on the ice. He’s the kind of guy where if I was a defender you don’t want to be battling against him because he’s going to make your life miserable,” said Assistant Coach Mike Brodeur.
The Will Conley show began just over a minute later. Davis Sheldon spotted Conley behind the Thunder defence and banked a pass off the boards to him. Conley walked in and danced around McLeod for his first of the night.
He would notch his second at 14:13 of the second period when he ripped a shot far side to extend the Barons lead to 4-0.
The Thunder would get two by Forbes Ploszaj in the third period with goals by Nolan Dawson and Tyler Smith but the MOB would strike for three of their own.
Conley completed the hat-trick as he popped in a Roach rebound. 18 seconds later, Hayden Ursulak scored his third goal of the year on a two on one as Sheldon’s shot kicked off the right pad of McLeod right to Ursulak.
“He’s a leader on and off the ice, he’s a hard working guy and to get him on the scoreboard like he did tonight that’s going to be a huge confidence booster for him,” said Brodeur on the play of Conley.
The Barons would add one more late on a powerplay. Toby Shattler was left all alone in front and walked around Parker Tobin to slide home his first goal in a MOB uniform. Shattler, playing in his fourth game has added a ton of grit and physicality to the Barons lineup but his silky mitts showed up on the goal.
“I didn’t,” said Brodeur with a laugh when asked if he knew Shattler had those soft hands when acquired. “To see his soft touch there was pretty nice and it almost looked like he surprised himself there maybe a little bit but no it was beautiful.”
The Barons and Thunder will be well acquainted with each after the next month. The two teams will meet four more times including twice next weekend as the MOB welcome the Thunder to the Casman Centre once again on Friday and Saturday.
Will Conley’s hat-trick was his first of his career and just his second multi-goal game of his career. Conley is currently riding a four game point streak in which the winger has four goals and nine points. Davis Sheldon racked up four assists in the win. Curtis Roach had a three point night. It was his fifth multi-point game of the year. Head Coach Tom Keca served his one game suspension and is eligible to return to the bench Friday against the Thunder. 16 year old Dawson Blanchette suited up in back to back games for the MOB on defence. JC Thivierge, Jordan Steenbergen, Jayden Pannu and Jackson McKinstry all remain out with injuries. All four are hoping to be back in the lineup next week.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photographer: Dan Lines