Recoup, recover and reset, three things the Fort McMurray Oil Barons will look to do as they head into the Christmas break.
The MOB dropped all three of their games over the weekend, concluding with a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Mustangs Sunday afternoon.
The Barons (16-11-7) head into the break in fourth place in the North Division and will look to get back on track when they return to action December 28th in Whitecourt.
“I think the break comes at a great time for us because it allows myself as a coach and general manager to assess exactly that question,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca in regards to how he has viewed the team’s play throughout the first half of the season. “There’s times when we’re good when we want to be but there’s too many times when we’re inconsistent so I think for us the next eight days is about establishing what our identity is and which direction do we want to go.”
After salvaging a point Saturday in Okotoks with a third period comeback, the Barons looked to ride some of that momentum into Sunday’s contest.
After a save by Josh Dias in the opening seconds of the game, Kole Gable chipped the puck up the left wall to Reed Morison who broke down the ice on a two-on-one. Morison fired a shot off the far goal post and in for his league leading 27th of the year 25 seconds into the game.
However, the Mustangs (16-13-6) would take over from there, getting a goal from Tanner Klassen at 8:13 of the period to tie the score at 1-1 and outshooting the Barons 14-3 in the frame.
The Barons had stretches of better play in the second period but again it was the Mustangs who controlled the play and off a turnover would take the lead when Joseph Karpyshyn hammered home a feed from Klassen.
The third period started well for the MOB as they created chances to try to tie up the game but were thwarted by Ashton Abel. Daniel Rybarik would put the Mustangs up 3-1, 5:59 into the period and looked to put away the MOB.
That was until Nicholas McCarry smacked in a Tyson Scott rebound to cut the lead down to one with 7:37 remaining.
The Barons pressed but late goals from Chase Miller and an empty netter from Karpyshyn put the game away.
“We didn’t battle, we didn’t compete, we didn’t skate so it’s unfortunate we don’t have the skill level on our team to take periods off and that’s almost what it seemed like,” sad Keca of the effort Sunday. “It seemed like we were going to wait until the third period and then try to turn it on. The third period there was a bit of desperation and some good shifts but all in all we can’t compete with anybody if we have too many passengers and I just thought we had too many passengers today.”
The MOB hit the road to end 2018 with stops in Whitecourt for a pair of games and then a date in Grande Prairie against the Storm. The Barons return to the Casman Centre January 4th when they welcome the Mustangs to town.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines