It wasn?t the start to the season that the Fort McMurray Oil Barons wanted. A 1-4 record and outscored 21-6 in the midst of a four game losing streak.
The MOB joined the other 14 AJHL teams in Camrose this weekend for the annual Alberta Junior Hockey League Showcase and they were looking to prove that they were a better team than what they had shown in the first two weeks of the season.
They did exactly that. The Barons battled the reigning national champion Brooks Bandits to a shootout before falling 3-2 Friday and then fought back to defeat Camrose 5-4 in a shootout Saturday night.
The team is hoping they have turned a corner after picking up three out of a possible four points over the weekend and improving to 2-4-1.
Friday afternoon the MOB took on the undefeated Bandits and got off to a quick start when Max Johnson slipped home a loose puck 6:48 into the game for his first goal as an Oil Baron.
A turnover in centre ice allowed the Bandits Chris Pappas to break in alone and he slid the puck past Evan Fradette to tie the game 1-1.
Randy Hernandez gave the Bandits the lead with a power play goal in the second period. The Barons showed no quit and would tie the game 2-2 with 5:54 remaining when Michael Hodge finished off a great feed from Kabore Dunn on the power play.
In overtime, Fradette stole the show making two incredible saves to send the game to a shootout. Hodge scored for the Barons but the Bandits got two past Fradette to steal the extra point and remain undefeated at 6-0.
Losers of five straight, the MOB needed a win and after arguably their best performance the day before against Brooks, the club fed off that effort and carried it into Saturday?s game against Camrose.
For a third straight game the MOB struck first when Jonathan Assayag?s shot hit Ty Budai in front of the Kodiak goal and went in 2:06 into the game.
Griffen Fraser converted on a Kodiak power play at 7:34 to tie the game before a flurry of goals ended the period.
Michael Hodge sniped twine for a third straight game to put the MOB back in front but the Kodiaks roared back and tied the game 26 seconds later when Callum Gau wired a shot past Chris Curr.
Cody Laskosky would give the home side their first lead of the game before the period was out as he continued his hot start to the season. Laskosky is riding a seven game point streak and leads the league with nine goals.
The MOB tied the game 35 seconds into the second period when captain Ryan Conroy stuffed home a loose puck on a power play.
Laskosky responded with his second of the game on a Kodiak power play mid-way through the period to put the Kodiaks back in front 4-3.
The Kodiaks found themselves in penalty trouble a few minutes later and with the Barons on a five-on-three, Hunter Lamb swept in his first of the year to once again tie the game.
In overtime, Alec Johnson was called for holding and the Barons were forced to kill off a penalty. Curr came up huge and Ty Ettinger had a massive shot block in front to send the MOB to a shootout for a second straight night.
It would be Hodge again who scored for the MOB and Curr shut the door stopping all three Kodiak shooters as the MOB snapped the losing streak and got back in the win column.
Next up the MOB will welcome the Spruce Grove Saints (7-1-0) to the Casman Centre on Friday and Saturday. Puck-drop for both games is at 7:30 p.m.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines