After carrying a 3-0 lead over the visiting Calgary Mustangs after fourty minutes the Fort McMurray Oil Barons ended up as 5-4 losers in a shootout.
“We played well for fourty minutes, did all the little things and then we give guys simple instructions in the third period and you know, we just talked about getting pucks in deep, I don’t know how many times we turned pucks over,” said Head Coach Tom Keca on the ROCK 97.9 post-game show.
The Oil Barons jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Logan Franz, Ben Sharf and Connor McCallum.
Jared Virtanen opened the floodgates for the Mustangs just 1:54 into the third on the power-play, the Mustangs would continue to strike fast and furiously popping four goals in the final frame.
“They scored the first two goals 23 seconds apart and the third and the fourth one were 11 seconds apart we talk about you can’t worry about the previous shift,” said Keca. “We just didn’t do that, we lost our composure, we were lucky we didn’t take another late one to not even get a point. I’m extremely disappointed.”
Virtanen would end up scoring the game winner in the shootout beating Dattani with a great deke to the forehand. The Oil Barons goaltender was incredible tonight turning aside 36 of 40 shots faced including a miraculous diving stick save in the second period on Davis Sheldon.
McCallum added a second goal on the night sandwiched right between the second and third Mustang’s goals. Calgary got two goals from Yuri Chernichko and another from Bryan Huck.
“We let them back in the game and at three nothing that’s just unacceptable to let up four goals in a period. It was a combination again of our forwards not managing but we let those guys get to the net fairly easily and that’s not fair to Mr. Dattani who did a great job for us tonight.”
The third period has been by far the worst for the Oil Barons this season, the young lineup has struggled with playing full sixty minute games and it cost them a confidence inducing win and a point in the standings.
“You can’t play the bunker style we wanted to keep going, we wanted to be aggressive with our two fore-checkers and get pucks in deep and we wanted an [forward] high but you’ve got to get pucks in deep.”
There were however some bright spots, the spectacular play of Dattani of course, Josh Bishop looked great on the penalty kill and the Oil Barons finally saw some scoring from their veterans in McCallum, Franz, and a 19-year-old rookie in Ben Sharf.
“I don’t think it was the fact that they beat us, we just found a way to lose, confidence is fragile and it’s going to be an interesting stretch here, we’ve got Bonnyville coming in here and then we’ve got showcase next weekend,” said Keca.
The Pontiacs roll into Fort McMurray on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop at the Casman Centre.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.
Photographer: Dan Lines