Jaillet shines as Barons down Oilers 5-3 in preseason

AUDIO: Hear from head coach Gord Thibodeau after tonight's win:

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons climbed back to the .500 mark in exhibition play with a 5-3 win over the Okotoks Oilers on Thursday night.

Kevin Lacroix (St. Albert, AB) scored two goals, while Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) shone in net with stellar early saves.

Rookies Adam Durkee (Lafayette, CO) and Luc Lalor (St. Albert, AB) also scored for the MOB, while the deal was sealed by alternate captain Mike Marianchuk (Innisfail, AB) in the final minute of play with an empty netter.

“A lot better, and a lot more consistent,” was the description of Barons head coach and G.M. Gord Thibodeau.

“There was a lot more physicality, I thought, tonight,” the coach added. “Still some areas we need to shore up; I think our ability to move the puck has got to get a little quicker.”

4 of the 5 Barons goals came in the final 20 minutes; the first period was scoreless, while each team scored once in the second.

The coach had high praise for goaltender Jaillet.

“Bottom line; he's the best goalie in the league,” said Thibodeau. “He's going to give us a chance to win every night. He made two absolutely highlight-reel saves in the second period.”

“It's a great thing to have when you've got a goaltender who's calm and doesn't panic,” the coach added, “because our young defencemen seem to panic a little bit, then they can look back and think 'okay, relax, we make a mistake, we know he's there to bail us out.'”

The game was the opener of a three-game stint at Okotoks' newly renamed Pason Centennial Arena. Four teams are taking part in a round-robin exhibition tournament.

The Barons will take on the Brooks Bandits tomorrow in an AJHL Championship rematch at 1:45 PM before finishing the pre-season on Saturday against Camrose at 4:30.