t was a special night for Fort McMurray Oil Barons captain Shane Fraser as the third year forward scored his first career Alberta Junior Hockey League hat-trick to help lead the MOB past the visiting Lloydminster Bobcats 4-2 Thursday night at the Casman Centre.
The Oil Barons (23-4-2) are now riding a five game winning streak as they continue to battle the Spruce Grove Saints and Whitecourt Wolverines for first place in the North Division.
“I really liked the effort, I thought that we skated hard,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on his team’s performance. “I just thought that we cycled the puck extremely well, we moved our feet, they were clutching and grabbing and there was no incentive and no reward for our guys to do that at times. We got two powerplays and we scored on both and then there were no calls after that and I don’t get it – it’s frustrating.”
Fraser would open the scoring on an early powerplay when he deflected a JC Thivierge point shot up and over the shoulder of the Bobcats Pierce Diamond 2:11 into the game.
The lead was short lived as the Bobcats scored before Fraser’s goal was even announced when Zach Kaiser banked a shot off the pad of Chris Curr from below the goal line and in to tie the game 14 seconds later.
Lloydminster (10-19-2) would take their only lead of the game 9:02 into the second period when Daniel Hinsendager’s pass bounced off the skate of Kobe Walker and in behind Curr.
Just like the MOB, the Bobcats lead was short lived as the Barons would tie the game 2-2 with their second powerplay goal of the game a minute later. The MOB worked the puck around the outside as Thivierge got the puck to Will Conley who thread the needle to Fraser at the side of the goal and the captain tipped home his second of the night.
“It was good to see our powerplay get rewarded today for a little bit of hard work and I thought that our penalty kill was really good and at the end of the day when you look at a 4-2 win – we score two powerplay goals and we don’t allow any against and specialty teams comes into play,” said Keca whose penalty kill was a perfect 4-4 on the night.
The Barons top line would strike again in the third period when Merritt Oszytko teed up Conley in the slot and the Barons leading goal scorer ripped his 24th of the year into the top right corner to give the MOB a 3-2 lead.
After a pair of shaky goals, Curr settled down in goal and finished the night with 36 saves and picked up back to back wins on his team’s current homestand.
The night was capped off with Fraser’s third of the night after blocking a point shot and racing down the left wing. The captain slid the puck into the empty net for his 11th goal of the year and 5th in his past two games.
“That’s the type of effort that you’re going to get from Shane Fraser and it was typical Shane Fraser shift. He lost the face-off which was fine and then he goes out and blocks the shot, gets the puck out, gets it over the red line and people are going to be one cheeseburger heavier,” said Keca with a laugh, noting the Oil Barons 60 second cheeseburger challenge from Wendy’s.
The Barons finish off their five game homestand Friday night at the Casman Centre as they welcome the Drumheller Dragons to town for their lone visit of the season. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photo by: Dan Lines, Fort McMurray Oil Barons