A short staffed Bonnyville Pontiacs team came into the Casman Centre Tuesday night and were able to out work the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and come away with a hard fought 3-2 win.
The MOB finished up their five game home stand with a 3-2-0 record and will now head out on the road for a three game trip this weekend.
“If you’re not willing to skate and execute and you’re just continually watching the play then you’re going to get in trouble so full credit to Bonnyville, they came in here and they pushed us around,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca who’s team fell six points back of the first place Spruce Grove Saints in the North Division with the loss.
The Pontiacs (16-23-7) were able to capitalize off the rush 5:58 into the first period when Bobby Young dropped a pass to Lucas Thorne. His shot hit a leg and beat Eric Szudor up high on the glove side.
The MOB (32-8-3) would respond well scoring two goals in a 4:48 span to take a 2-1 lead to end the period. Curtis Roach scored for a third straight game as the defenceman out waited his defender before ripping a shot into the top corner on a MOB powerplay.
The Barons had a great chance just prior to taking the lead when Merritt Oszytko’s shot hit the left goal post. The MOB controlled the rebound and Will Conley threw the puck towards the Pontiacs goal. Justin Travis sprawled out to rob Shane Fraser but the MOB captain stuck with the puck and hammered in his third chance for his 15th goal of the season.
The Barons would get into penalty trouble early in the third period and allowed the Pontiacs back into the game. Three straight penalties in a four minute span and Carson Erhardt whacked in a loose puck at the side of the goal to tie things up 2-2.
“You come into the third period and you’re up 2-1 and you put yourself in a position where you have to kill three penalties in a row and that’s tough because it taxes your bench and you can’t get all four lines rolling and you’re using the same 6-8 forwards but that’s on us. We took offensive zone penalties where we didn’t move our feet and you have to make those calls and at the end of the day it’s just not good enough,” said Keca who’s team took seven minor penalties in the game.
Despite dressing only 16 skaters, the Pontiacs showed no quit and again were able to knock in a loose puck in the crease with 4:21 to go in the third period. Szudor robbed Charlie Gawlicki from point blank range but the rebound popped out and no one picked up Olson Werenka at the side of the net who buried the loose puck with ease.
“On the last goal we had two guys with two hands on their stick and they banged away and got a rebound so that’s not protecting your house and bailing out your goaltender who’s been phenomenal for most of the year and there’s not a willingness to compete on a regular basis for us,” said Keca.
The MOB will head out on the road Friday as they will take on the Spruce Grove Saints in Wainwright before battling Lloydminster Saturday and the Pontiacs on Sunday.
The commemorative jerseys that they Oil Barons wore over the weekend in support of the Northern Lights Health Foundation raised over $12,000 during the jersey auction.
“We try to do as much as we can out in the community so for us to raise $12,000 for the health foundation is great and very deserving. We take our work in the community very seriously and I’m glad it was a successful event,” said Keca.
Forward Coy Prevost made his MOB debut after being acquired from the Canmore Eagles at the CJHL trade deadline. Prevost had been serving a five game suspension he picked up prior to the trade. Will Conley extended his point streak to a career best 10 games with 2 assists on the night. The third year forward has 8 goals and 16 points during the streak and now leads the team in scoring with 51 points.
MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 Post-Game Show.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines, Fort McMurray Oil Barons