AUDIO: Hear head coach Gord Thibodeau's postgame comments:
The Fort McMurray Oil Barons dropped their final pre-season game of 2012 by a 6-4 margin to the Camrose Kodiaks in Okotoks on Saturday afternoon, in another effort that head coach Gord Thibodeau had little issue with.
“I thought the D played pretty well, I thought the forwards competed hard, at times; a little undisciplined, took too many penalties, same story as last night frankly.”
The Barons were only outshot by a 32-31 margin despite allowing far more powerplay chances to their opponent for the second straight game. The undisciplined play wasn't a major worry for the coach, however.
“That's what happens with young guys. They get frustrated out there, and they take an extra shot, or give an extra shot, and they have to learn the rules also and what you can get away with.”
Kevin Lacroix (St. Albert, AB) stood out offensively, scoring three goals to keep the Barons in it.
“He's a legitimate 30-40 goal guy when he's on his game, and it's great to see him get rewarded,” Thibodeau said of Lacroix.
The team also put a timeline on two injuries from Friday's game against Brooks. Forward Jordan Clark (Parksville, BC) is out at least 4 months with a fractured tibia, while Sam House's (Calgary, AB) collarbone injury will sideline him for 4-6 weeks.
Thibodeau says those setbacks have opened up more opportunity for the rookie crop.
“I think there's one or two guys that were on the bubble that played themselves into a longer look,” he said. “Fortunately for some of the young players, the injuries are going to give them a bit more opportunity.”
The coach won't take too much time to pare down the roster.
“We'll try to get down to 25 tonight, and then the injuries put us in a situation where we're going to have to carry 25 for a few weeks,” said Thibodeau.
A 2-4 pre-season record also wasn't a major focus for the bench boss.
“I consider us 0-0,” he said. “It's obvious that this is going to be a different year than what we're used to. There has to be some patience not just from the fans, but from the staff also, and we don't want to put any undue expectation on the boys; this isn't last year's group.”
“They'll forge their own identity over time.”
The Barons open the 2012-13 regular season on Friday night at 8pm at the Casman Centre against the Drayton Valley Thunder.