Lamb scores OT winner vs Thunder; Hodge hat-trick not enough as MOB fall to Pontiacs

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons battled back in both games over the weekend and pulled out a thrilling victory Saturday but came up just short on Sunday.

The MOB came away with a 3-2 overtime win Saturday over the Drayton Valley Thunder before falling 4-3 to the Bonnyville Pontiacs Sunday afternoon at the Casman Centre.

The Oil Barons (13-20-2) trailed the Thunder 2-1 late in the third period and were able to tie the game after a great shift from Luke Harvie, Sheldon Kwiatkowski and Breydon Berthold. The trio cycled the puck down low before Kwiatkowski was able to tip the puck out front of the Thunder goal to Berthold who out waited Eric Ward and fired home his first goal as an Oil Baron with 5:52 remaining.

?If they can contribute offensively it?ll be a big help because we?re going to have to bank on those guys moving forward and if they can start playing big minutes and produce it?ll be huge for us,? said MOB Head Coach Bob Beatty.

The game went to overtime where the Thunder (11-18-5) nearly ended it when Jesse Pomeroy tipped a pass on goal on a two-on-one. Cameron Beson flashed the leather and robbed the Thunder captain to keep the game tied 2-2.

?He gives you a lot of confidence in the net, he doesn?t look scattered at all and he always seems to be bringing the rebounds in and kicking them into the corners and doesn?t give up a lot of secondary opportunities,? said Beatty on Beson who made 26 saves in the win. ?For a 17 year old he?s pretty composed and has played well for us and given us a lot of confidence.?

Moments later, Josh Zinger made a strong move on the boards and drove towards the Thunder goal. His shot was stopped but Hunter Lamb was there to clean up the rebound and give the MOB a huge come from behind win.

?Zinger made a real nice move to spin off and took the puck to the paint and Lamb followed it up and got a huge goal for us,? said Beatty on the overtime winner.

On Sunday, the Pontiacs (24-9-2) were able to jump on the MOB early and opened up a 2-0 lead 5:21 into the game.

?Our effort level has to be high every game and we have to be willing to win races to pucks and battle that has to be there all the time. When we take our foot off the gas and coast in on the forecheck we?re an easy team to play against,? said Beatty on the slow start.

The Barons got a break less than a minute later when a Declan Douthart dump in hit a stanchion and went right into the slot. The puck found Michael Hodge who ripped a shot into the top right corner to get the MOB right back in the game.

Hodge continued to dazzle early in the second period, tying the game 2-2 with a highlight reel backhand into the top corner off the rush. Lamb drove to the goal and took away the defender and allowed Hodge to walk in and rip a backhand top shelf.

The third period saw the Pontiacs again come out hard and they were able to get two past Beson and open up a two goal advantage for the second time in the game. With the goalie out, the MOB would get within one when Zinger fed a wide open Hodge who buried his third of the game for the hat-trick.

?He?s shooting the puck a little bit quicker, he?s willing to drive the net and the points are going to start piling up for him if he can continue to play with courage and confidence like that,? said Beatty of Hodge who now has 12 points during a 7 game point streak.

The MOB find themselves in fifth place in the North Division but the Thunder and Storm both sit one point behind the MOB in a super tight race.

?It?s a tough loss, the boys are hanging their heads a bit, I thought our effort and work rate was better than Saturday and we maybe deserved a better fate,? said Beatty on the loss.

The Barons have two games remaining before the Christmas break as they will head to Camrose Tuesday and Sherwood Park on Wednesday. You can listen to the action on Country 93.3.

Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcurray.comĀ 

Photo by: Dan LinesĀ