Lalor sends the teddies flying as Barons beat Sherwood Park 5-4 in a shootout (AUDIO – Video coming soon)

FORT MCMURRAY, AB (November 24, 2012) — Danny Gayle (Calgary, AB) scored the lone goal in the shootout, and added two assists, as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (13-12-3) took down the Sherwood Park Crusaders 5-4 in extra time on Saturday night at home.

It was the annual Teddy Bear Toss night for the MOB, but Sherwood Park would be the ones to open the scoring tally, when Marshall Donald, who had scored the previous night's overtime winner, collected a pass in the slot and fired a wrist shot past Ethan Wood (Jasper, AB) for a 1-0 lead, just 1:23 into the game.

But just over halfway through the first, rookie forward Luc Lalor (St. Albert, AB) sent the Christmas toys flying when he tipped a powerplay point shot from John Teets past goaltender Matt Tomkins to tie the game.

“As a coach, you're just going 'thank god we scored,'” chucked head coach Gord Thibodeau after the game. “We've been on the other end when we've shut out teams on their Teddy Bear Toss night, and that's a terrible feeling for everyone involved.”

“So when Luc got that goal, not only to tie it, but to do it relatively early in the first period, where we can get that over with – my biggest concern was the guys getting to the boards and congratulating him without having to step on teddy bears, because they were coming quickly!”

After a lengthy delay to collect the toys for the Santa's Anonymous charity, the Barons took a late lead when Kevin Lacroix (St. Albert, AB) fed Parker Evans-Campbell (High River, AB) on a 2-on-1 rush, with the rookie forward jamming a one-timer past Tomkins to make it 2-1.

The Crusaders would not be denied, however, as Josh Healey converted on a breakaway 7:49 into the 2nd to tie the game back up, and Bowen Croft converted on a long power play slap shot at 13:07 to give the visitors the lead back.

It was another late period goal turning the tide, however, as Alex Cromwell (McKinney, TX) found a loose puck on a goal mouth scramble and lifted it over Tomkins and into the back of the net to knot the game at 3-3 with only 47 seconds left in the second.

In the third, Taylor Graham (Calgary, AB) blasted a powerplay point shot past Tomkins at the 10:43 mark to put the MOB ahead 4-3, but Andrew Taverner replied with a powerplay slap shot goal of his own at 14:26 to send the game to overtime tied 4-4.

Several close range saves from both Wood and Tomkins kept the score knotted heading into the shootout, where Wood stood tall to give his team the win.

First, he denied Danny Smith with a right pad kick save, which was followed up by a perfect backhand goal by Gayle for the MOB.

Ryan Luiten then fanned on his second-round shot, but Scott Pooley (Granger, IN) was also denied, to put the pressure on Bowen Croft. But his wrister flew wide left of the MOB net and gave the Barons the dramatic 5-4 win.

“I'm frustrated with our D zone coverage,” said Thibodeau frankly. “Tonight was very poor. Credit for finding a way, and some character to come back again, but we just have to clean up some areas in the D zone.”

“You can't continue to give up 15-16 scoring chances a night – it's just not going to be good enough to win in this league.”

The team has a full week of practice to prepare for another vital South division road trip. They take on the Okotoks Oilers on Friday night, followed by Canmore on Saturday and the Calgary Mustangs on Sunday afternoon.

“We talked about it in the room after this game – we've got the lowest amount of wins on the road this year,” Thibodeau said. “It's usually symptomatic of a young team – it takes a lot of character and a lot of jam to win on the road, because adversity is going to be upon you, but we've got to find a way to get some Ws.”

“We're playing well at home – we have to transfer that energy to the road.”

Game time Friday is 7:30 with pre-game coverage at 7:15 on Country 93.3.

Country 93.3 3 stars:
3. Taylor Graham (1 goal)
2. Josh Healey (1 goal)
1. Danny Gayle (2 assists, shootout winner)