Brandon Ralph feathered a pass over to Jack Hamly 17 seconds into overtime and the 18 year old walked around Austin McGrath to send the Fort McMurray Oil Barons to a 4-3 win over the Lloydminster Bobcats Saturday night.
The goal was Hamly’s seventh and first game winning goal of the year.
Despite the win and taking both games on the weekend road trip, Oil Barons (21-5-1) Head Coach Tom Keca was frustrated by his team’s performance on the night. Giveaways and lost puck battles kept the Bobcats in the game and allowed them to claw their way back twice when down a goal.
“It’s frustrating, I’m sorry I want to be positive when you come on a road trip and you get two wins but I really didn’t like the way we played,” said Keca on the Country 93.3 post-game show. “We prep our guys to be ready for the first ten minutes and the first shift we stunk and they end up scoring.”
Wilson Northey deflected a Zach Sherburne point shot 21 seconds into the game to open the scoring and give the Bobcats (5-18-2) a quick 1-0 lead.
The second period was taken over by the captain Brandon Ralph. A give and go between Ralph and JC Thivierge ended up in the back of the net to tie the game 1:01 into the frame.
Ralph would strike again at 9:34 when Ryan Cox sent him in all alone and he beat McGrath threw the legs for his team leading 11th goal of the year.
“Just his presence on the bench, he’s almost like an assistant coach. He talks to the guy’s non-stop and he talks to everybody. He’s not somebody who differentiates whether you’re an older guy or a younger guy, he addresses everybody. When he starts speaking guys will stop and listen so his contributions that he does on the bench are huge and on the ice they’re even better.” Said Keca on what his captain brings to the team every night.
The Bobcats battled back tying the game two minutes later as Will Middleton pounced on a bouncing puck in the slot and snapped a shot over the glove hand of Josh Williams who was making his first start in a MOB uniform.
The MOB would regain their lead with a quick goal to start the third period. Will Conley ripped a shot past McGrath for his 11th goal to make it 3-2.
The Bobcats continued to press and a costly turnover from Curtis Roach behind his own goal allowed Zach Webb to feed Middleton out front who roofed his second goal of the game to tie the game 3-3.
On the ensuing face-off. The Bobcats blew past the MOB defence and Williams had to make his biggest save of the game, robbing Caden Benson to keep the game tied. Williams made 27 saves in picking up his first win with the Barons.
“Josh was outstanding. He came as advertised and he did what he had to do. He had to cover up for a lot of mistakes that we made tonight,” said Keca on the play of his goaltender.
The Barons will head home for three straight before playing seven in a row on the road throughout December.
The MOB are home to Bonnyville Wednesday and Spruce Grove Friday and Saturday.
“It’s one of those things where now there’s a little bit of separation in the standings and those top four teams are gearing up for one another and this is a great opportunity for us to see where we really fit in,” said Keca whose team is in a three way tie for first place with Bonnyville and Whitecourt.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photographer: Dan Lines