FORT MCMURRAY, AB (January 2, 2013) — The Fort McMurray Oil Barons (21-15-4) overcame an extremely questionable goal call against them, and rallied to beat the Drumheller Dragons 2-1 in a shootout at home Wednesday night to start off 2013.
The Barons were welcoming back captain Brock Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, AB) after missing more than 2 months with an injury, while forwards Harry Hendrix (Calgary, AB) and Justin Fraser (Hussar, AB) also returned from extended absences.
“The weight was off my shoulders; I was just excited to be back on the ice,” said Maschmeyer. “[Hendrix and Fraser] were both excited to get back on the ice, and it felt great, with the crowd here and everything, they did a great job helping us out.”
The first period of the new year belonged to the Barons, as they outshot the visiting Dragons 14-8, but couldn't beat goaltender Adam Beukeboom.
In the second, tempers flared when Barons defenceman Matt Purmal (Merrill, WI) checked a Drumheller forward from behind, drawing a penalty. Purmal was jumped by Dragons forward Bryton Mills, but a second fight erupted between his parter Zach Wittenburg (Chestermere, AB) and Adam Danyluk. The latter two were ejected for the second fight in a stoppage, while Purmal left for the hit from behind.
Less than a minute after the ruckus, the Dragons took the lead after a bizarre officiating decision by referee James Sharun.
Tyler Kerner took a shot from the slot that slid under the pad of goaltender Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) and slowly crawled towards the goal line, before Maschmeyer cleared it with his stick behind the netminder.
It was called as such on the ice – but the officiating crew abruptly reversed its position and called it a goal for Kerner. Video evidence clearly showed the puck did not cross the goal line.
“Mistakes happen,” said Barons head coach Gord Thibodeau. “The one thing we tried to get across to our guys is, 'quit pissing and moaning about it; let's go out there and get the next one.'”
The mistaken call highlighted an otherwise dominant second for Drumheller, which outshot the MOB 12-6.
“The rationale basically was; one of the linesmen said he saw the puck go across the line,” the coach recalled. “I think the ref waved it off initially, but he made the decision to go with his linesman's call, which I can accept.”
“Obviously, if we had lost the game 1-0, my tone might be a little different.”
But the Barons responded at the 9:36 mark of the third period on their fifth power-play, which began after MOB forward Scott Pooley was hit from behind by Mitchell Cook of the Dragons, who was ejected. Defenceman John Teets (Fairbanks, AK) fired a wrist shot from the goal line at the right-wing corner that somehow snuck by Beukeboom and over the line to tie the game up.
The Barons outshot the Dragons 12-11 in the third, but no other goals were scored, sending the game to overtime, where the Barons outshot the Dragons 8-2 and had a powerplay, but could not score thanks to stellar saves from Beukeboom, including a breakaway stop on Danny Gayle (Calgary, AB).
“I think there were three or four glorious chances on that 4-on-3,” said Thibodeau. “The positive is – we were creating more, we had more movement on a couple of powerplays, but we're still back to the same dilemma where you've got to finish some of those, and could've made the game a lot easier on ourselves.”
The game headed to the shootout, with the first five shooters being denied, before Maschmeyer stepped in, deked his way to the right hand side, then quickly slid over to the left with Beukeboom down on the ice, lifting it over the sprawling netminder and into the net to cap off the dramatic comeback win for Fort McMurray.
“We were talking about what I was gonna do before I was even out there,” said Maschmeyer. “When he called my name, I was excited, and when I saw the opportunity to fake a shot and just put it in, it was awesome.”
“The goalie was out really far – he did it to the two players in front of me,” the captain recalled. “He's known to drop and just stay there – so when I faked the shot, I looked low blocker, faked the shot, came around, and just put it in.”
In net for the MOB, Jaillet was credited with 32 saves on 33 shots for his second consecutive win, in what should have been his first shutout of the season. Beukeboom stopped 39 of 40 shots for Drumheller.
The win puts the MOB a season-best 6 games over .500 with a tough matchup coming up Friday night, when they host the #1 team in the country, the Brooks Bandits.
“The gameplan's going to be 'let's get to overtime',” joked Thibodeau, “because we seem to love that, so maybe that should be our mindset going into Brooks is 'let's play even for 60 and take our chances in overtime' – it's certainly treated us well here in the last month.”
Game time is 8:00 with pre-game coverage starting at 7:45 on Country 93.3.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
3. Brock Maschmeyer (shootout winner)
2. Adam Beukeboom (39 saves, 40 shots)
1. Tanner Jaillet (32 saves, 33 shots)