The red light behind the Olds Grizzlys goal got quite the workout Saturday night at the Casman Centre as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons slashed the Grizzlys 9-2.
Seven different goal scorers found the back of the net in the win while affiliate goalie Chris Curr kicked out 27 of 29 shots faced in picking up his first career AJHL win in his first start.
Despite the lopsided win and the team extending their winning streak to six games, MOB Head Coach Tom Keca was not overly impressed by his team’s effort.
“You like the fact that you were able to score nine goals but a lot of the time you want hard work to rewarded and I just don’t think we worked very hard,” said Keca on his team’s performance. “There were certain areas in the game where we were okay but this is definitely not an effort that we want to build on moving forward.”
The MOB (40-10-3) would open the scoring just past the five minute mark of the first period when Curtis Roach spotted Shane Fraser in front of the Olds goal from the corner. Roach fired a cross crease pass that Fraser tapped home for his 14th goal of the year.
The Barons would double up their lead on the next shift when Jarred White walked off the half wall and ripped a shot past the glove hand of Ben Giesbrecht to make it 2-0.
The Grizzlys (15-33-6) found some life early in the second period when Ryley Smith snuck in behind the MOB defence and came in clean on Curr. The Grizzlys leading scorer took a low hard shot but was robbed by the left pad of Curr. The MOB turned the puck up ice and Dylan Rauh would whack in a JC Thivierge rebound to open up a 3-0 lead 2:04 into the period.
“The turning point in the entire game was the save he makes on a breakaway and then we counter attack and score to make it 3-0 a little later,” said Keca on the play.
The Barons would strike again 2:12 later when Jackson McKinstry ripped a Brett Edwards rebound off the post and in for his 8th goal of the year. That would spell the end of Geisbrecht’s night as the goaltender allowed four goals on 15 shots.
Andrew Henderson came into the game and didn’t get off to the best start as Liam Izyk would beat him from behind the goal line. The rookie bounced a shot off the back of Henderson and in for his second goal in back to back games.
The scoring continued in the third period when Roach out waited the defender to move in to the slot for a better look at the goal then rifled his 11th into the top right corner to make it a 6-0 game.
The Grizzlys would not quit and finally beat Curr at 4:03 when Jeremy Klessens found a loose puck in the crease and poked it across the goal line.
The Barons would respond with three straight goals. The first two from their captain Brandon Ralph who had two shots squeak through the arm of Henderson and trickle across the goal line for his team leading 24th and 25th goals. Fraser would add his second of the game at 18:05 when he crashed the net and the puck hit him in the chest and bounced in.
The Grizzlys rounded out the scoring 14 seconds later when Quentin Greenwood beat Curr from a sharp angle with a shot up over his shoulder.
Even though the score finished 9-2, it was the 18 year old from St. Albert who was the star of the game making several big saves and drawing praise from his coach.
“Chris Curr was outstanding, came up with some huge stops at some very crucial times,” said Keca on his young netminder. “He was cool, he was calm, he was collected and that rubs off on your players.”
Eric Szudor is expected to be back between the pipes when the MOB host the Sherwood Park Crusaders Monday afternoon in their final home game of the regular season. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. and the Dream Home winner will be announced during the game. Szudor had played every game in the last month before getting a night off Saturday. He was 10-0-2 during the 12 straight starts.
Matteo Aiello led all scorers in the game with four assists. Jack Hamly and Tyr Thompson dropped the gloves late in the first period after Thompson ran Hamly into the end boards.
The MOB became the second team this season to win 20 games at both home and on the road. The last time a Barons team won at least 20 games at both home and on the road was in the 2011-2012 season.
Writen by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photographer: Dan Lines