Guertin’s hat trick propels Whitecourt past Fort McMurray 6-3

FORT MCMURRAY, AB (December 14, 2012) — Mathieu Guertin opened the scoring and completed a hat trick as the Whitecourt Wolverines downed the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (17-15-3) 6-3 at the Casman Centre on Saturday night.

With the loss, the MOB fell back into 6th place in the AJHL North, one point ahead of Sherwood Park, two behind Drayton Valley, and now four behind the Wolverines.

Guertin's first came just 95 seconds into the game off of a turnover in front of the Barons net, as he jammed his own rebound past Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) for the first of seven goals scored between both teams in the first period.

At 6:16, Ryan Berlin converted on a breakaway after a 2-on-1 rush with Colten Meaver to double the lead, but Barons newcomer Hayden Dawes (Stony Plain, AB) scored on a wrist shot from the high slot just before the halfway mark of the period to get the home side on the board.

For Dawes, it was his 4th point as an Oil Baron in just four games played.

The Wolverines responded at 13:49 when Trace Elson swatted a puck in from the side of the net, but former Wolverine Taylor Graham (Calgary, AB) got it back only 13 seconds later with a slap shot from the left point.

Whitecourt then converted on its first power-play of the game with a wrist shot by Berlin from the right-wing face-off circle, but again it was a quick response by Fort McMurray as just 32 seconds later, Adam Wilcox (Alpharetta, GA) fed a puck in front from the side of the net that deflected to Erik Pedersen (Calgary, AB), who jammed the puck in to make it 4-3 after 20 minutes.

The Barons then outshot the visitors 19-9 in the second period, but goalie Jared Rathjen was up to the task, stopping all 19.

Guertin scored his second of the night just 97 seconds into the period off a net-front scramble that prompted Barons head coach Gord Thibodeau to pull Jaillet and replace him with backup Ethan Wood (Jasper, AB).

Later in the second, Graham dropped the gloves with 16-year old Whitecourt rookie Steven Alldridge in an extended fight that drew one of the loudest crowd reactions of the night.

But there would be only one more goal, as Guertin scored his third of the game 5:11 into the third period, once again chasing down his own rebound after weaving around a stationary MOB defenceman.

Whitecourt went 1 for 3 on its powerplay while the Barons went 0 for 2, outshooting the Wolverines 38-32 on the night. Wood stopped 17 of 18 shots in relief of Jaillet, while Rathjen stopped 35 of 38.

The Barons return to action tomorrow night, hosting the Drayton Valley Thunder with a chance to tie them for 5th place in the division.

Puck drop is at 8 o'clock with pre-game coverage on Country 93.3 starting at 7:45.

Country 93.3 3 stars:
3. Ryan Berlin (2 goals)
2. Jerome Raymond (3 assists)
1. Mathieu Guertin (3 goals)