The Drayton Valley Thunder may have won the game on the scoreboard but after a mistake on their roster, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons will be credited with the victory.
The Thunder thought they had snapped their nine game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the MOB Saturday night but the Thunder will forfeit the win after violating the AJHL rule of how many 20 year old players are allowed to be on your roster.
As per the Alberta Junior Hockey League rules, teams may only have six 20 year old players on their roster, this includes affiliates. The Thunder made a trade Thursday, acquiring 20 year old goaltender Luke Lush from the Camrose Kodiaks which gave them seven 20 year olds on their roster, one over the limit.
The win gives the Oil Barons a 6-4-1 record while the Thunder fall to 2-10-0.
In the game, this was a much different Thunder team than the one the MOB thumped 8-1 Monday at home. The Thunder out hit, out shot and out scored the MOB Saturday night.
The MOB weren’t able to get many shots through to newly acquired goaltender Luke Lush as they registered just four shots in both the first and third periods.
A big reason why was the Thunder’s ability to get in the shooting lanes, clogging up the middle of the ice as the MOB had a number of shots blocked from good shooting areas.
“By our count we had nine or ten shots that didn’t get through today and that’s just a matter of getting your head up or dropping your shoulder to change your shooting lane but full credit to Drayton Valley,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca.
The Thunder broke a scoreless tie with 1:17 left in the first period when James Orban broke in alone and flipped the puck past Josh Dias for his first goal of the year.
A penalty to end the period to the MOB gave the Thunder a powerplay to start the middle frame and they took advantage. A loose puck found its way to Jeremy Klessens who hammered home a shot to put the Thunder up 2-0.
The powerplay goal snapped the MOB’s perfect road penalty kill to start the season. The Barons had killed off 25 straight penalties on the road before the goal.
The Barons restored some life with a powerplay goal of their own at 14:15. Liam Izyk threw a puck towards the Thunder goal that bounced off the leg of Kole Gable and in behind Lush for his 5th of the year.
The third period started horribly for the MOB as the Thunder struck 14 seconds in on a two-on-one. Klessens kept the puck and rifled a shot far side past Dias for his second of the game. Thunder goalie Luke Lush picked up an assist, starting the play with a pass to Orban out of his own end.
“In a period where you’re down a goal, you have a defenceman pinch when he doesn’t have support and you give up a third goal right in the first minute of the third period, that’s tough and you could feel the moral get drained a little bit on the bench but it’s still not an excuse,” said Keca.
Brock Bartholomew would put the game out of reach with a seeing eye point shot off a face-off win that beat Dias up high with 4:03 left in the third period.
The MOB will finish up their road trip with a Sunday afternoon date with the Sherwood Park Crusaders. Pre-game show is 2:00 p.m. on Country 93.3.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photo by: Dan Lines