The Fort McMurray Oil Barons continue to try and find their identity in this young AJHL season but one thing the team has quickly learned is to put a tough performance behind you.
After falling flat Tuesday in Bonnyville, the MOB stormed out of the gate Friday night and put together a complete team effort as six different players found the back of the net and propelled the team to a 6-3 win over the visiting Canmore Eagles.
“For our guys to understand that we weren’t happy as a group collectively with our effort on Tuesday and for us to come back into the friendly confines of the Casman Centre where our goal is to make this a difficult place to play, I thought that we did that,” said Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 post-game show.
It was the Eagles coming out strong in the first period, outshooting the MOB 13-6 but the MOB took advantage of their few scoring chances to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission.
Jack Hamly tipped home his first goal in a MOB uniform 5:07 into the first when he deflected a Jordan Steenbergen point shot past Ryan Bontorin off an Eagles turnover.
Back to back penalties allowed the Eagles to tie the game on a two man advantage when Braden Saretsky was left all alone at the side of the goal and tapped in a Brett Stewart pass past a helpless Forbes Ploszaj.
The Barons would regain the lead just 1:27 later. A good forecheck from Damon Porter forced a turnover behind the Eagles goal, Will Conley picked up the puck and centered to Brett Edwards who fired home his second goal of the year.
The offence continued early in the second period when Matteo Aiello showed a flash of brilliance, undressing two Eagles defenders and goaltender Bontorin to score his first goal with the Barons since coming over in trade from Brooks.
“The guys were ecstatic for him…the guys know that we have guys who work hard and sometimes you don’t get rewarded but Aiello is going to intimidate not so much with his physical play but with his speed,” said Keca
The MOB would make it a 4-1 game when yet another player scored his first goal of the year. Nicholas Leeseberg fired a shot off the shoulder of Bontorin and the rebound came right to Jarred White, the rookie hammered the puck through the legs of Bontorin to give the MOB a three goal lead.
“He’s just so versatile in everything he does. He has a heavy shot, he’s responsible defensively, he doesn’t mind throwing around his weight and he’s a 99 (born) which is an added bonus for us,” said Keca of his young forward.
The MOB would strike once more in the frame on a late powerplay. Aiello came out of the corner and fired a shot towards the goal, Hayden Ursulak got a stick on it to deflect it past the Eagels netminder.
“For us to bury opportunities is huge and when you see guys that don’t necessarily get rewarded with a lot of goals succeed tonight that’s always a good sign,” said Keca of his teams offence.
The Eagles made the game interesting mid-way through the third period scoring two quick goals from Stewart and Adam Tisdale to pull within two.
That would be as close as the Eagles would get as Ploszaj shut the door the rest of the way, picking up his first win since returning from a two game suspension.
Taner Miller sealed the win with a shorthanded empty net goal. The second year defenceman has points in all four games this season and leads the team with three goals and seven points.
Next up for the MOB is a date with a rebuilt Lloydminster Bobcats team Saturday night.
“Lloydminster is a very young team, they’re dynamic and they still haven’t got their first W so they’re going to be looking to come into the Casman Centre and hopefully pull off an upset,” said Keca.
Puck drop for the game is scheduled for 8:00p.m. at the Casman Centre. The game will also be broadcasted on Country 93.3, beginning with the pre-game show at 7:45p.m. with Taylor Pope and Bruce Ferguson.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.