Forbes Ploszaj picked up a 30 save shutout and Dylan Rauh scored the game winner in the second period as the Oil Barons battled their way to a massive 3-0 win over the Grande Prairie Storm at Revolution Place Thursday night.
The Oil Barons also saw goals from Cody Hodgson on the power-play and an empty-net marker from Shawn Weber as the club picked up its fifth point in its last three games.
“It’s huge, we worked real hard as a team from the net out everybody was great tonight I thought everybody put great efforts in,” said Oil Barons Assistant Coach Mike Brodeur. “I thought our [defensive] zone was excellent tonight we collapsed down in the zone and didn’t give a lot.”
Ploszaj’s shutout was the first of the season for an Oil Barons netminder; it was also the 19-year-old goaltenders first AJHL victory coming in his fourth game since being signed as a free agent around the holidays.
“Hats off to him [Ploszaj] because his work ethic all week was excellent he was awesome in practice, he was stopping everything in practice and that’s why he got the start,” said Brodeur, who noted it’ll likely be Ploszaj between the pipes again Friday.
The MOB fired 29 shots at Tate Sproxton who kept his team in the game as long as he could until Hodgson sealed with 2:35 to play in the final frame. For the Oil Barons most of the 30 shots against came from the outside and Ploszaj had one of his quieter nights since joining the club.
“The back pressure was really what helped our [defence] tonight our forward were coming back hard on the back check and that gave our [defence] the opportunity to step up,” said Brodeur.
Fort McMurray went one-for-three on the power-play while Grande Prairie failed on two opportunities, a double minor to Jordan Steenbergen in the first.
With the victory the Oil Barons increase their lead on the Storm for the final playoff spot in the north division to five points, although Grande Prairie does hold a game in hand.
Following Thursday’s tilt the MOB have just ten games left on the season.
Another two points against the Storm Friday would go a long way to securing a spot in the post-season.
“We’ve got to come out the same way, we’ve got to play sixty full minutes and we’ve got to put in the effort here tomorrow on the road.”
Puck drop Friday night is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., you can catch the pre-game show on ROCK 97.9 starting at 7:15 p.m. with Bradley Karp.
When asked what he’d love for his team to carry over to Friday Brodeur had just three words.
“Protect the house.”
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.
Photo taken on December 4, 2015 at the Casman Centre by Dan Lines.