The Fort McMurray Oil Barons picked up their first road win of the season as they used a big goal from their youngest defenceman to shoot down the Lloydminster Bobcats 4-3 Friday night.
Lloydminster native Brayden Koch broke a 3-3 tie 8:49 into the third period when he took a pass from Brendan Stafford and snapped it past the blocker of Bobcats netminder Cale Elder. The 16 year old needed just three games to score his first career AJHL goal and he did so in front of a big crowd of family and friends in his hometown.
“Could not have written a better script,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca. “A 16 year old coming back to his stomping grounds and he pots the game winner and it was a great play. For the forward (Stafford) to see him and then for him to jump in the slot and wire it in, it was great for him.”
It was a back and forth battle all evening as the game saw four lead changes. The MOB (3-0-0) opened the scoring 12:19 into the first period when Reed Morison beat Elder from the high slot after his initial shot was blocked. The 20 year old is riding a three game goal streak to open the season.
The Bobcats (0-3-0) answered before the period was out when Rylan Nivon squeaked a shot through Chris Curr. Nivon would give the Bobcats their lone lead on the night when he beat Curr off a face-off win and danced in towards goal to score his second goal of the game 7:25 into the second period.
The Barons stormed right back 45 seconds later, tying the game 2-2 when Kole Gable chased down a puck into the Bobcats zone. Gable fed Morison in front and with a quick backhand he notched his fourth goal of the season.
“For us to be successful this year we’re going to rely on those 20 year olds to carry a lot of the heavy load at the start of the year and then hopefully we can inject that youthful enthusiasm and they can start contributing offensively as well,” said Keca on Gable and Morison who each picked up their third straight multi-point games.
The MOB took back the lead on a late powerplay when Stafford stuffed the puck into the crease. Hamly jammed it over to Sean McCloskey who had pinched down from the right point and he buried his first goal as an Oil Baron.
“That was a great walk out front and we tried to jam it and it was in behind him (Elder) and Sean (McCloskey) because he’s down there he can poke it into a yawning cage. If he’s up at the blueline, there’s no chance that puck goes in,” said Keca on activating his blueline with the man-advantage.
Reid Irwin tied the game for a third time 5:17 into the third period when he finished off a three-on-two rush and beat an out stretched Curr.
The Barons out shot the Bobcats 29-21 in the game and scored a powerplay goal for a third straight game.
These two teams will meet again Saturday night at the Centennial Civic Centre. You can listen to the action beginning with the pre-game show at 7:15 p.m. on Country 93.3 with Taylor Pope.
MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 Post-Game Show.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines