The final weekend of the regular season for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons kicked off with a tough 3-2 overtime loss to the Sherwood Park Crusaders.
The loss snapped the Oil Barons (30-19-9) five game winning streak and was the fourth time this season that the MOB lost by one goal to the first place Crusaders (43-14-2) and third time in overtime or a shootout.
The Oil Barons weathered an early barrage of shots by the Crusaders in the first period and would capitalize when a Crusader defenceman wiped out at his own blueline. Tyler Maser found himself on a breakaway and deked around Carter Gylander to tuck home his fifth goal of the season 11:30 into the game.
The Crusaders would tie the game three minutes later after a massive scramble in front of the MOB goal. Arjun Atwal knocked in a loose puck past a helpless Josh Dias.
The Oil Barons struck shorthanded in the second period when Liam Izyk sprung Reed Morison in on a breakaway. Morison buried his league leading fourth shorthanded goal and 41st of the year to give the MOB a 2-1 lead after two periods. The goal was the Oil Barons 7th shorthanded goal of the season and a league worst 13th given up by the Crusaders.
In the third period, the recently named AJHL Rookie of the Year Carter Savoie tied the game 2-2 when his long range shot fooled Dias 6:50 into the period.
A chippy game overall would be decided when Gunner Kinniburgh was given a penalty at the end of the third period for an open ice bodycheck that the referee deemed a hit to the head. The questionable call put the Crusaders on the powerplay to start overtime and Nick Bowman ended the game 1:18 in when he wired a shot past Dias on the short side.
Dias made 37 saves in the overtime loss while Gylander kicked out 24 MOB shots in the win. The Crusaders 43rd victory of the season tied a franchise record for most wins in a season. They’ll try to break the record Saturday night when they host the Grande Prairie Storm.
As for the MOB, they’ll continue their road trip with a stop in Drayton Valley Saturday night. Pre-game show is at 7:15 p.m. on Country 93.3.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines