The Fort McMurray Oil Barons wasted no time in making a statement that they are a team looking to have a big second half in the AJHL season by destroying the Grande Prairie Storm 10-1 Friday night.
Nine different players found the back of the net and 16 of 18 skaters registered a point in the win for the MOB (25-10-1) which moved them into third place in the North Division.
Ryan Cox, Toby Shattler and Brandon Ralph put the MOB out in front 3-0 in the games opening 8:32 and the Barons never looked back. Cox tipped in a Curtis Roach point shot before Roach set up Shattler with a cross ice pass that he one-timed past Arik Weersink. It was then the captain snapping a Matteo Aiello feed past Weersink for his team leading 13th goal.
“I thought we did a great job filling in lanes, I thought that our transition game was really strong which allowed us to attack with speed. I thought that we were relentless on the puck as well. We just talked about being intelligent and having vision on the ice when guys were open,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca.
Will Conley made it 4-0 before the period was out as he drove wide on the Storm defenceman before cutting towards the goal and sliding the puck past Weersink for his 13th of the year.
The MOB continued to pour it on in the second as Shane Fraser scored just 27 seconds into the period on a deflection. The goal was Fraser’s first in 17 games and ended the night for Weersink.
The local boy Brett Edwards then gave the MOB a 6-0 lead with his eighth goal of the season. Edwards was left wide open in front of the Storm goal and fired a shot past Xavier Burghardt off a feed from Cox.
“You have to play this game with your head up, you have to have vision. I thought we did a great job distributing the puck and also hitting seams as well,” said Keca.
The Storm (10-25-5) would get their lone tally 27 seconds later when Eric Sorensen beat Eric Szudor on the blocker side for his first career AJHL goal.
The Barons would get two more before the period was out to give them an 8-1 lead. Hayden Ursulak tipped in a Jackson McKinstry pass and Shattler would hammer home a rebound on a powerplay for his second goal of the game and first multi-goal game as a Baron.
The goal was the Barons first powerplay goal of December and snapped an 0-25 streak with the man advantage.
“Just getting pucks to the net and a willingness to battle and compete led to that goal. Shattler had two and we were trying and hoping we would get him for the hat-trick but he stood up for himself and stood up for a teammate so we don’t have any issues with that,” said Keca on the play of Shattler who was given a game misconduct after dropping the gloves with Landon Vollman.
The MOB would hit double digits for the first time this season after Nicholas Nietubyc and McKinstry popped home goals in the opening three minutes of the third period.
Will Conley found Nietubyc cross ice and the Texas native made no mistake scoring his second goal in four games.
“That’s a great play where he’s the weak side defenceman where he finds that soft area behind their check and Will (Conley) spots him coming off the half wall and he lasered it short side so it was great for Nick to have success on the offensive side,” said Keca on the goal.
McKinstry’s goal was his fourth of the year and third against the Storm this season. Eric Szudor made 22 saves in the win and snapped a five game losing streak for himself.
The MOB will have a quick turn around as they take on the Spruce Grove Saints Saturday afternoon. Pre-game show begins at 1:45 p.m. on Country 93.3 with Taylor Pope.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
MOB Head Coach Tom Keca post game show.