WHITECOURT, AB (November 16, 2014) – For the second game in a row, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (13-11-3) found success in the shootout, beating the Whitecourt Wolverines 3-2.
For the first time on the road trip, the Barons struck first on the scoresheet, when rookie defenceman Alyn Nanji (Markham, ON) picked up his first AJHL goal just over a minute into the game.
But the Wolverines responded with 1:20 left in the first, when veteran Dylan Thudium beat Jayden Sittler (Red Deer, AB), who got the start for the second straight game.
Just over halfway through the second, Thudium picked up his second goal of the night, giving the Wolverines the 2-1 lead after 40.
But once again, the Barons orchestrated a third period comeback.
With just over five minutes to play in the game, Logan Franz (Medicine Hat, AB) tied things up at 2 to force overtime.
After the three-on-three session didn’t decide the game, the teams went into the shootout.
Electing to shoot first, the Wolverines sent Thudium, Trace Elson, and Lance Yaremchuk all failed to score on Sittler.
For the Barons, Trent Lofthouse (Surrey, BC) scored the eventual shootout winner in the first round, giving the Barons 4 of a possible 6 points on the weekend road trip.
After the game, Barons head coach Curtis Hunt said the coaching staff challenged the defencemen, and were satisfied with the results.
“We went three shifts in a row with five forwards on the ice – we benched our D after they scored their second goal. It was a little bit of wakeup call for them, to get playing the way they can, compete the way they can, take a hit to make the play,” he said.
“And I think they responded really well from there, we played them straight up after that, we were a lot cleaner throughout the rest of the night.”
Sittler picked up 29 saves for the win, while Pierce Dushenko had 36 saves for Whitecourt in the loss.
With the win, the Barons move to within three points of third-place Lloydminster, though the Bobcats have three games in hand over Fort McMurray.
Up next for the Barons, they host the Wolverines for back-to-back games at the Casman Centre next weekend (November 21-22).
Puck drop on Friday night is at 8:00, with the pre-game show on KAOS 91.1 at 7:45.