The Fort McMurray Oil Barons had a chance to take advantage of a wounded Spruce Grove Saints team, with six regulars out of the lineup due to a mix of injuries and players named to Team Canada West of the World Junior ‘A’ challenge the Saints dressed just 16 skaters.
Oil Barons Head Coach Tom Keca described the 6-1 loss in the final home game of 2015 as “extremely disappointing” in his post-game interview on ROCK 97.9.
Taylor Crunk opened the scoring the his first of three straight with just 1:20 left in the first period, although it was the best period of hockey the MOB had against Spruce Grove all year, outshooting the AJHL’s top team 9-6.
“We keep saying it every time we do these interviews is that we can’t afford to take ten minutes off, five minutes off, or shifts off,” said Keca. “It’s disappointing because I thought we did a good job in the first period. We didn’t create a lot of second or third opportunities we didn’t get a lot of grade ‘A’ scoring chances we were very perimeter today which is very extremely disappointing.”
The wheels fell off in the second as Crunk scored another two to complete the natural hat-trick within the first 11 minutes.
Ben Sharf scored the MOB’s lone goal at 11:01 of the second that was followed by markers from Trey Fix-Wolansky and Austin Hunter to close out the frame for Spruce Grove.
After exploding for five goals in a win against Grande Prairie on Dec. 4, the Oil Barons have scored just three goals in their last three contests, all losses as the goal scoring seems to have dried up once more.
“I’m not worried about the goals, I’m worried about the effort, and there was just no effort. This is an organization that is built on pride and I think that our players need to learn what it means to be a Fort McMurray Oil Baron and to put that jersey on. Some guys are on the bench and they’re trying and other guys, we’ve got too many passengers right now.”
One bright spot offensively has been the play of Cole Todd the 20-year-old B.C. native has five points in his last four games as he seems to have settled into physical grind of the AJHL.
Ravi Dattani made 28 saves on 34 shots in the loss; Garrett Mason stopped 19 of 20 shots.
Neither team scored on the power-play as the MOB were held without a power-play goal for the third straight game after going 0/4 last night, Spruce Grove had to chances on the man advantage.
The Oil Barons will hit the road on Monday as they prep for a four game swing through the south division against the two Calgary teams then Canmore and Brooks, Keca will be looking for an improved effort.
“It comes from within, if you can’t come to the rink and get ready and want to compete and want to get better and care about yourself and your teammates. This organization tries to do the best for these players and the players have to show that they appreciate it. I’m extremely frustrated and I’m very disappointed today,” said Keca.
Fort McMurray will take on the Canucks in Strathmore on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.
Photographer: Dan Lines