It was not the way the Fort McMurray Oil Barons wanted their road trip to go.
A disastrous start in Spruce Grove saw them blown out 11-1 Friday night, the club?s worse loss in over a decade.
They followed that up with a strong performance Saturday night in Drayton Valley, taking down the Thunder 3-1, backstopped by a 34 save effort from Evan Fradette.
But Sunday saw the Oil Barons get into all kinds of trouble early on and they were never able to recover, falling 6-0 to the Thunder.
In Spruce Grove, the Saints jumped on the MOB early, opening up a 4-0 first period lead and once they smelled blood, they never took their foot off the gas pedal. The Saints scored five goals in the second period and added a pair in the third. The Barons lone highlight was a shorthanded breakaway goal from Ty Budai with 2:28 remaining in the third period to break up Matthew Davis? shutout bid.
The MOB knew they needed a big bounce back effort on Saturday and they got exactly that with a 3-1 victory. Michael Hodge fired home a first period power play goal, his team leading 11th of the year.
The Thunder stormed out of the gate to start the second period and tied the game ten seconds into the period.
However, the MOB roared right back re-taking the lead 25 seconds later on a goal from Ethan Jones. The Barons would tack on another power play marker from Hunter Lamb before the period was out and would shut the door defensively in the third period.
On Sunday, the MOB had to battle right from the get go. Lucas Jones was handed a five minute major for boarding and a game misconduct 3:03 into the first period. 3:13 later, Max Struss was given a five minute major and a game misconduct for a blow to the head penalty putting the Oil Barons down two men and shorthanded for nearly ten minutes of the first period.
The MOB penalty killers did an extraordinary job as they only surrendered one goal while short handed. The Thunder would get a second late in the period to head into the break up 2-0.
The game was extremely physical overall and with the Thunder leading 3-0 in the third period, things were getting out of hand as the official had no control of the game.
In result, Konrad Belcourt threw a dangerous hit on a Thunder player on the end boards and became the third Oil Baron to be handed a five minute major and a game misconduct.
That put the Barons down three defenceman who will all likely face suspensions once the league reviews the plays. Defenceman Kyle Pow was handed a three game suspension in Spruce Grove for a check from behind and will serve his final game of the suspension Friday night.
The loss was a missed opportunity for the MOB who could?ve jumped the Thunder for 5th place in the North Division standings and instead stay in 7th and are now 3 points back.
The Barons are back at home this weekend for a pair of games against the 8th place Lloydminster Bobcats with a chance to make up some ground in the standings.
Friday night is the annual Teddy Toss in support of Santas Anonymous. Make sure to bring a stuffed animal to the rink to throw on the ice when the Oil Barons score. All those stuffed animals will then be collected and put in hampers for children this holiday season.
Tickets can be purchased at the Casman Centre box office or online.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com