Riding a five game losing streak, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons looked to their big guns to get them back to their winning ways. Will Conley scored a pair of goals and had a four point night while Eric Szudor made 30 saves as the MOB downed the Whitecourt Wolverines 4-2 Saturday night.
The win snapped the Barons (40-13-5) longest losing streak in three seasons and gave them a win in their final road game of the regular season before they head home to wrap up the schedule next weekend at the Casman Centre with a pair of games against the Wolverines (33-19-6) once again.
“I really thought that today was a tale of two games. I felt that we dominated the first 27 minutes probably as complete as we’ve been all year. I thought we were physical, got in on forecheck, I thought we hemmed them in at times, we out shot them and then for whatever reason sometimes guys just start turning the page,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca
The Barons offense had dried up over the past week, scoring just four goals in three losses with three of the goals coming from defencemen. The MOB were looking to their forwards to break out of their funk and it would be the captain getting the MOB on the board seven minutes into the game. Ryan Conroy chipped the puck into the corner and Will Conley beat his man to the puck before finding Shane Fraser in front. Fraser fired home his 20th goal of the season to give the MOB a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later it was Conley doubling up the Barons lead while on a powrplay. Conley ripped a shot into the top left corner for his 44th of the year from the top of the face-off cirlces, snapping a three game goalless drought, his longest of the season.
The Barons continued to attack to start the second period and again it was Conley and Fraser leading the way this time setting up Merritt Oszytko who was left all alone in front of Tye Morin and tapped in his 22nd goal of the season. With an assist on the goal, Fraser became the fifth Oil Baron to reach 50 points on the season joining Conley, Oszytko, Reed Morison and Coy Prevost.
Whitecourt would get a goal back before the period was out to make it a 3-1 game when Jude Butler beat Szudor through the five hole at the 13:49 mark.
The Wolverines would start the third period on the man advantage and quickly capitalized scoring 32 seconds in when Jaedon Leslie walked around Szudor and buried his 15th and second in two games.
“For our players to get rewarded and go up 2-0 and then 3-0 and then even when it was 3-2 I thought that we did a good job of clamping down and Szudor came up with some big stops and all in all there’s some good facets of the game that we can take out tonight,” said Keca.
With the Wolverines pressing for an equalizer, Conley would give the Oil Barons the insurance marker they needed when he blazed down the right wing and wired a wrist shot into the top corner like he’s done so often this season. The goal capped a four point night for Conley and gave him 45 goals on the season.
The win gave the MOB 40 wins on the season and they also became just the third team this season to record at least 20 wins at home and on the road, a feat the Barons have accomplished now in back to back seasons.
“Getting 40 wins was important for us that’s back to back years which says a lot about the group that we have and also today was our 20th win on the road and to get 20 wins is important cause in order to be successful in the playoffs you have to win on the road and we pride ourselves on playing a simple game and a different game on the road and full credit to the 20 guys who dressed today and also to the guys who were out,” said Keca on how proud he is of the 24 players on his roster.
The MOB will take on the Wolverines Friday and Saturday night at the Casman Centre next week. Puck drop for both games is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 Post-Game Show.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photo by: Dan Lines