Crusaders beat Oil Barons 8-3

Not a whole lot to pick out of an 8-3 loss to a division rival, but there were a few bright spots on a night where the storyline was overwhelmingly negative for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons against Sherwood Park.

Marcus Kichton, the 16-year-old defenseman that joined MOB camp just last week was possibly the best player in a blue and gold sweater tonight.

“He was outstanding, he was on for every goal for two power-play goals and an even strength goal and he was only on for one goal against, I think that’s fabulous,” said Oil Barons Head Coach Tom Keca. “But let’s be honest when a 16-year-old  is leading the charge and even though we’ve claimed this is going to be a rebuild and we’re going to be young it can’t be the case there’s going to be a point here where we’re going to need production from some other players.

The Oil Barons were outshot 43-23 in a game that might give Ravi Dattani recurring nightmares.

“Felt bad for him because he battled, he really did. There comes a point where as a coaching staff you have to challenge your players, this has to bother you,” said Keca.

Sherwood Park began the game by using their big bodies to power through the offensive zone off the rush or out of the corner. As the game wore on they were able to pick apart the MOB defence, generating more than a few breakaways in the third period.

“We were just too wide and we gave away two breakaways clear cut and it was basically just a case of guys trying to do too much and not following the system.”

The Crusaders opened the scoring just over five minutes into the game. Shawn Weber tied it late in the first with a howitzer from just inside the blue-line off an intercepted pass. It was a tight game through twenty, but the second period is where the wheels fell off the wagon.

“We had a good second half of the first period and we wanted to build on that but we had two brain farts there back to back and it was 3-1. With a young group all of a sudden things start to snowball and you just can’t stop it,” said Keca in the lobby of the team’s hotel in Edmonton.

Keca has just less than 24 hours to get his crew ready to go again for tomorrow’s match, “it doesn’t get any easier tomorrow, tomorrow we’ve got Spruce Grove.”

Logan Franz left the game in the second period after trying to defend his goal against a Crusaders player driving towards the goal.

“He got caught with a skate behind the ear and fairly close to some nerves. He’s actually got to go to a specialist tomorrow morning and I don’t foresee him finishing the weekend with us,” said Keca.

Another positive tonight was the Oil Barons power-play that went two for five on the night, with goals by Shane Fraser, his first AJHL marker and Landon Welykholowa.

The loss dropped the Oil Barons record to 0-3 on the season.

The MOB take on the Saints at 7 p.m. tomorrow night. You can hear the game live on ROCK 97.9, pre-game show starts at 6:45 p.m.

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