Ben Sharf scored one of the ugliest goals he’ll ever score, but there may be few that felt as good as his seventh of the season. Crossing centre ice Sharf just dumped the puck in on Pierce Diamond, the fluttering puck fooled the Bobcats goaltender with just over six minutes to go in a one-one hockey game. It ended up being the game winner.
You’d be a hefty amount richer if you doubled down on an Oil Barons win tonight, coming off a tough loss to Spruce Grove the Oil Barons were staring way up at the Bobcats in the standings. The MOB handed the Bobcats just their fourth loss of the year in picking up their third victory.
Keca Beats His Mentor
It was also a special night for Oil Barons Head Coach and General Manager Tom Keca who beat his mentor Gord Thibodeau in his first head-to-head matchup against his former boss.
“I know that I was thinking about that and I know that it was a big smile after the game and he loves Gordie, and he respects Gordie and Gordie taught him a lot but it’s really nice to beat your mentor any chance you do,” said Oil Barons Assistant Coach Dave Dupas. “We all knew it was big for him and it was nice to get a win for him in here too.”
A Tight Game Until the End
Austin Holmes scored an empty net goal to make the goal spread seem a little wider than the play actually was, the shot clock did the same as it ended 38-21 in favour of Lloydminster. Make no mistake, this game was tight from opening puck drop.
The Oil Barons opened the scoring as Cole Todd scored his first of the year knocking in a Ben Sharf rebound 11 minutes into the first, Evan Tschumi tied it just 1:46 later on a breakaway for the Bobcats.
The game remained tied until Sharf’s winner late in the third.
Ravi Being Ravi
Again tonight Ravi Dattani was the difference, while it was a tight game, Dattani made a number of mind numbing saves to keep the Oil Barons in it long enough for Sharf to score, he stopped 37 of 38 shots faced.
“Ravi is Ravi, and he’s been playing like that all year for us it’s nice for us to get him a win because he’s held us in so many games and we haven’t been able to finish it out for him and tonight it went our way and he absolutely deserves it. He’s one of the best goalies in the league but obviously his wins and losses aren’t going to show that but he’s a great goalie, and a great competitor and a great teammate also.”
He gives the Oil Barons a chance to win every night, and you can really see just how much the players want to win for him.
The biggest key to Dattani being able to pick up his third victory of the season was a much improved Oil Barons defense. They blocked shots and passing lanes, boxed out the Bobcats forwards on the power-play and cleared the front of the house.
It seems that Kyler Newman’s return from injury and the addition of Jordan Steenbergen has really helped to stabilize the defense.
“It’s great having him [Newman] and Steenbergen too, those two as a pairing they can play against the other team’s top lines and shut them down and I think they did a very good job of that tonight,” said Dupas who handles defensive coaching duties.
“I can’t say it enough defensively we’re just so much better we’re blocking shots, our forwards are blocking shots from the point our defensemen are clearing the front of the net and if we continue to do that I think we’re going to be successful.”
A Quick Turnaround
The Oil Barons don’t have much time to heal their bumps and bruises after a physical affair against Lloydminster that saw Lindsey MacLellan drop the mitts in his first fight of the year with Taylor Mulder late in the third. They’ve got a date with another strong opponent in the Bonnyville Pontiacs tomorrow afternoon to wrap up the three game road trip.
“We just have to keep playing the way we’re playing right now, tomorrow is another opportunity for us to go and get two more points.”
Puck drop tomorrow is at 2 p.m., you can catch the game live on ROCK 97.9 starting with the pre-game show at 1:45 p.m.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.