Cox nets hat-trick as MOB blank Grizzlys 5-0

Coming off their best effort of the season in a 4-2 win in Okotoks Friday night, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons were able to follow it up with a dominate performance Saturday in Olds as the MOB thumped the Grizzlys 5-0.

The Barons swept their three game trip through the South Division and have now won five games in a row.

“Quite frankly we dominated the game I thought. I don’t think it was in doubt at any time,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca of his team’s performance. “We got some early goals and continued to roll.”

The Oil Barons came flying out of the gate and jumped on the Grizzlys early. Connor Lyons found a streaking Ryan Cox down the left wing. From in tight, Cox was able to beat Andrew Henderson over the shoulder to give the MOB a 1-0 lead 4:11 into the game.

The MOB would double their lead at the 14:06 mark when Will Conley buried a rebound off a Taner Miller shot. The puck bounced off the glove of Henderson and right on the tape of the MOB’s leading scorer. The goal was Conley’s 11th of the year and extended his point streak to five games.

In the second period the Barons killed off three straight penalties and despite spending a good chunk of the frame shorthanded, the MOB generated several good scoring chances but were thwarted by Henderson.

The Barons kept pressing and finally beat the Olds netminder with three seconds left in the period when Liam Izyk fed Reed Morison in front and the big winger snapped a shot five hole on Henderson for his 5th of the year to put the MOB up 3-0.

The Barons didn’t slow down in the third period and Cox was able to complete the hat-trick, his first in the AJHL with two goals in a four minute span. The first was off a feed from behind the net from JC Thivierge where Cox sent a quick shot past Henderson.

His third goal of the night was a long wrister that found the top left corner right as a Baron powerplay was winding down.

The three goals snapped a seven game goalless drought for Cox and gave him 6 on the year.

“He just shot the puck and I think he had two or three other opportunities to score,” said Keca of Ryan Cox breaking out with a hat-trick. “He’s got a great release and he loves to bring his hands in close to his body which changes his shooting lane, it’s tough to pick up if you’re a goaltender so he’s an exciting player to watch when he’s on and he’ll be the first one to breathe a sigh of relief and get the monkey off his back.”

Eric Szudor made 23 saves in the game and picked up his first shutout of the year.

“Well deserved, Eric is one of the top goaltenders in our league and I think he had the tough game in the second one in Grande Prairie which he didn’t like and after that he’s been solid every single night out,” said Keca of Szudor who has a sparkling .935 save percentage on the year.

Next up for the MOB, they will host the Calgary Mustangs Friday night at the Casman Centre. They will then welcome the Sherwood Park Crusaders to town on Saturday. Puck drop for both games is 7:30 p.m.

“All in all we couldn’t do anything better on this road trip, you’re proud of the individuals and we’ll get ready for the week of practice and we’ll have a tough homestand next weekend,” said Keca.

MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 Post-Game Show.

Written by: Taylor Pope,

Photo by: Dan Lines