FORT MCMURRAY, AB (October 12, 2012) — Taylor Graham (Calgary, AB) scored his first goal of the season on a one-handed poke check in overtime to give the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (5-7-1) a dramatic 3-2 win over the Grande Prairie Storm.
“You never really expect to score a goal like that,” said Graham. “But in overtime, you're just trying to get everything on net, and hope for the best.”
The extra frame was necessitated by a herculean effort by Storm goaltender Curtis Skip, who stopped 49 of 52 shots in the game.
The Barons outshot the Storm 18-8 in an even first period where each team scored all of its regulation goals.
First, Harry Hendrix (Calgary, AB) converted on a rebound after Mike Marianchuk (Innisfail, AB) shot one wide on the powerplay, just 2:59 into the game.
The MOB's third shot of the game, off the stick of Adam Durkee, was a stellar save from Skip. It was followed up, however, by the fourth shot, a rebound goal from Luc Lalor (St. Albert, AB) to double the MOB lead just 4:34 in.
But less than two minutes later, Storm forward Mike Forsyth converted on an awkward centring pass from the left-wing corner that deflected off of goaltender Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) and in.
As time ran down in the first, the Storm tied the game on a Sam Lawson deflection of a Sasha Larocque point shot.
The Barons outshot the Storm 31-20 in the final forty minutes, but both goalies kept those frames scoreless.
Jaillet stopped 27 of 29 shots for the win.
In overtime, Danny Gayle (Calgary, AB) carried into the attacking zone along the right wing, before spinning his way to the halfboards and tucking the pass down low to Graham, who cut towards the net around a Storm defender and one-handed the puck through Skip's five-hole for the winner.
“I've never been in a barn where it just erupted like that,” said Graham of the crowd reaction. “It just feels great.”
The recent acquisition says the team never got despondent after its scoring chances were continually steered aside by the Storm netminder.
“You've just got to keep your head up, and know we're going to get our chances and bounces,” Graham said. “Their goalie played great, and I just happened to slide one by him.”
He also found the effort to be a major improvement from Tuesday night's 7-5 loss to Spruce Grove.
“It's night and day. The amount of scoring chances we had, and the offence that we were creating – as soon as we start bearing down, that game's going to be nowhere near overtime.”
The Barons play the Storm again Saturday night at 8pm, with pre-game radio coverage starting at 7:45 on Country 93.3. Graham expects a different approach from the Storm after the tough loss.
“I expect them to come out hard, lay on the body,” he predicted. “I think if we can lay on the body as well, move the puck quick, get as many scoring chances, but put the puck in the net with a little finish, we'll like the outcome.”
The win was the 19th straight for the MOB over the Storm, dating back to the 2010 playoffs.