Connor McCallum, Shane Fraser, and Will Conley – Strathmore’s MOB powered the Oil Barons to a 4-3 win over the Calgary Canucks in front of family and friends in their home town combining for six points.
The win snapped a three-game losing skid for Fort McMurray and broke a two-game win streak for Calgary.
All Eyes on the Strathmore Boys
“They [Strathmore boys] played fantastic Conley was all over the ice, Fraser defensively he played really well too blocked some shots took some face-offs for us, McCallum he created a lot of chances and had some chances to score some more goals too,” said Dave Dupas, Oil Barons Assistant Coach on the ROCK 97.9 post-game show.
“Those guys were excited to play, they got into the starting line-up here tonight and it was something that they had been looking forward to for a long time so it was nice to see them come and succeed in front of their families.”
Conley opened the scoring with his first of two goals at 9:52 of the first period; his second would come just 1:27 into the middle frame breaking a 1-1 tie following a last second Canucks goal from Ryan McKinnon. Jackson McKinstry gave the MOB a 3-1 lead with a marker aided by McCallum with about 6:30 left in the second period.
As it has been all year the Oil Barons looked uncomfortable with the two goal lead.
Calgary’s Ryan McKinnon drew his club within a goal at 9:57 of the third.
Connor McCallum notched an empty net goal to restore a two-goal margin with 1:51 to play. That would traditionally ice it, but the Canucks got a late marker from Nolan Carothers who beat Ravi Dattani from a bad angle with just 1:35 remaining.
McCallum led both teams in scoring with one goal and two assists, while Fraser aided on McCallum’s empty net marker.
Neither team scored on the power-play as the MOB failed on two chances, Calgary had four opportunities.
Bounce Back Effort
After a disappointing effort Saturday in a 6-1 loss to Spruce Grove the Oil Barons were able to hang on even though the game was a little more exciting towards the end than the coaching staff would have liked.
“The effort was there for the most part, physically the effort was there we just have to be a little bit smarter at times,” said Dupas. “We get a little bit of a lead and then seem to panic a little bit and we gave these guys a little bit of momentum in the third period. I think we sat back a little bit and they took it to us.”
Dattani Holds the Fort
Ravi Dattani was excellent as usual, except for the third goal but some would say that with his play this year he’s earned at least one poor goal against without punishment. The 20-year-old netminder stopped 43 of 46 shots faced to earn his fifth win of the season.
He out-played Calgary’s Logan Drackett who allowed three goals on 27 shots.
“Especially in the first period, we started out okay and then there was a stretch there for about ten minutes where they really took it to us where if not for him [Dattani] that score could’ve been instead of 1-1, could’ve been 3-1 or maybe 4-1 so he held us in like he always does.”
A decision to move this game to Strathmore was a good one, according to the Canucks over 720 people took in the AJHL game. I’m sure that for many, it was their first time being exposed to Junior ‘A’ Hockey in Alberta and they were treated to a great game.
Had you closed your eyes at times you couldn’t tell whether you were in Strathmore or Fort McMurray as fan support was overwhelmingly in favour of the Oil Barons.
“We did notice it, the players noticed it, we noticed it, when we scored a goal there was quite a loud cheer there. We all knew it was going to get like this with as many local kids as we have had here tonight,” said Dupas. “It was really big night for those guys and really a good win for us.”
Mustangs and the Streak
The Oil Barons will battle with the Calgary Mustangs Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m.
Calgary has tied an AJHL record for the most consecutive losses with 28 following a 7-6 shootout loss to Olds on Monday, Dec. 14, with a win the Oil Barons can give the Mustangs sole possession of the record.
“They beat us here once already this year the Mustangs, we have to be ready for those guys, we can’t look at their record, we can’t look at their losing streak that they’re on we just have to look at another team that’s in there battling,” said Dupas. “We need those two points.”
The Mustangs’ last win came on Oct. 1 at the AJHL Showcase in Camrose against Drayton Valley.
You can catch the game live on ROCK 97.9 starting with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.
The Oil Barons are travelling short two defencemen as Head Coach and General Manager Tom Keca revealed that Mark Drohan is taking time away from hockey and is staying home in Calgary. While Grant Morford has returned to California to take up an academic scholarship he’s received in the United States.
The MOB will be without Shane Fraser for over a month due to an upper body injury suffered last night.
Shawn Weber is day-to-day with an upper body injury of his own.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.
Photo taken October 10, 2015 at the Casman Centre by Dan Lines.