The Fort McMurray Oil Barons remain perfect in 2014, as the earned a 3-2 victory over the Bonnyville Pontiacs Tuesday night at the RJ Lalonde Arena in Bonnyville. The win extends the Barons' winning streak to five games.
“It was a good road win,” said Oil Barons head coach and general manager Gord Thibodeau. “Gritty and not very pretty, but I thought we did some good things and we battled hard.”
Bonnyville controlled most of the play in the early part of the first period and the home team were the first to put one on the board with Bobby McMann scoring off the rush at 6:29 of the first period. However MOB captain Jetlan Houcher would even the score with 1:50 left in the first, after finding the rebound from Adam Durkee's initial shot.
The Barons would take the lead at 6:42 of the second with Danton Ayotte scoring his 15th of the season. But the Pontiacs would knot the score at 16:23 of the middle frame, with Locke Muller tipping a shot past Tanner Jaillet on the powerplay. 2-2 would be the score after 40 minutes of play.
At 2:02 of the third Adam Wilcox would regain the Barons' lead and the MOB would hang on for the remainder of the third to win 3-2, giving Wilcox his second straight game-winning goal. Thibodeau said Wilcox's line with Alex Cromwell and Kaiden Tobin has been very effective.
“That line did a great job on the cycle,” he said. “All night on the cycle they create trouble for opposing teams. They're strong and they go to the net. All three of them can shoot the puck. You love to see that type of contribution from those guys.”
Defenceman Zach Wittenburg returned to the Barons' lineup for the first time since November 30. Thibodeau said he was happy to see the 19-year-old blueliner back in the lineup.
“He was very solid,” said Thibodeau. “He's just very reliable. You kind of relax a little bit when he is on the ice. He's obviously going to help us a lot.”
Tanner Jaillet made 34 saves in the winning effort, earning his fourth victory against the Pontiacs this season.
The Oil Barons next game is this Saturday, January 18th as the Barons host the Whitecourt Wolverines at the Casman Centre. Puck drop for that game is at 8 p.m.