SHERWOOD PARK, AB (March 9, 2015) The Fort McMurray Oil Barons jumped out to a first period lead, but couldn't hold down the fort, as the Sherwood Park scored five unanswered goals en route to a 6-2 win, eliminating the MOB from the AJHL playoffs.
For the second straight game, Arthur Gordon got the Crusaders on the board when he streaked in alone, beating Zach Fortin (St. Jérome, PQ) for the 1-0 lead.
Nearly eight minutes later with the MOB on a powerplay, Trent Lofthouse (Surrey, BC) got one back, tying the game 1-1.
The Barons followed that up with another powerplay marker just over two minutes later, when Jetlan Houcher (Paradise Valley, AB) gave Fort McMurray a 2-1 lead.
But the Crusaders tied the game before the period was out, when a sharp angle shot from Cole Gammer deflected past Fortin to even up the game after 20.
In the second, the Crusaders came out firing, putting 13 shots on the MOB net and holding the Barons to just 4 in return.
However, the second period ended without another goal being scored, as the teams went to the third period in a tie game for the first time all series.
In the third, the Crusaders sealed the game with the one-two punch of Tyler Maltby and Cameron Brezinski scoring goals in the first minute of the frame, doubling the Sherwood Park score to 4-2.
The game was then officially put out of reach with a Dane Phaneuf goal four minutes later, and a Brezinski empty netter with under three to play.
Fortin made 29 saves in the loss, while Zac Klassen needed 22 saves to pick up the win.
“It's like beating a dead horse sometimes. At some point in time you've got to figure it out,” said Head Coach Curtis Hunt.
“Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. How many shots got blocked from the top? How many shots did we not even take where we just held on, held on, held on, and that gets pretty frustrating when the other team seems to get pucks through. I guess we'll reflect a little bit and take some time.”
Hunt also reflected on the fact that at this point in the year, some things just didn't get through.
“Just about every shift we're trying to explain to guys, 'listen you can't do that,' and they go out and they repeat it, it's been quite frustrating, I'll be honest with you,” he said.
“Maybe I've been too nice of a guy, but we've got an opportunity where we get a second season here and we've got some work to do, and for some guys it's going to be a real good opportunity.”
With the Barons now eliminated, the Crusaders will move on to play the Spruce Grove Saints in the second round, while Lloydminster battles Bonnyville in the other North series.
On the other hand, the Barons will be off until April 25, when they host their first game against the Manitoba Junior Hockey League champion in the Western Canada Cup at the Casman Centre.
Tickets are available online or at the Oil Barons box office.
KAOS 91.1 3 Stars:
3. Tyler Maltby (1G/2A)
2. Cameron Brezinski (2G)
1. Arthur Gordon (1G/2A)