Oil Barons dropped 8-5 by Spruce Grove

For nearly the first nine minutes of each of the first two periods the Oil Barons looked like they didn’t even belong in the same rink as the Spruce Grove Saints. The Saints opened the scoring nine seconds in, they’d add another just 1:43 in, their second goal on three shots and Eric Szudor’s night was done.

In came Ravi Dattani who allowed a goal under five minutes later, make it 3-0 Spruce Grove only 6:42 into the hockey game, yikes.

Landon Welykholowa banged home a Jackson McKinstry rebound to pull the MOB to within two goals leading into the second period.

A Seven Goal Second Period

I can’t say that I’ve seen too many games with a seven goal period, let alone one where one team scores four straight in about eight minutes, then the other scores three in under two… welcome to Junior ‘A’ hockey.

Liam Gregor scored a power-play goal 50 seconds into the second, he’d get his hat-trick goal about seven minutes later, Isaac Farrah, and Riley Simpson also scored for the Saints to make it 7-1 8:14 into the middle frame.

“The positive that I’ll take out of this game is the fact that when it was 7-1 you can’t help it as a coach but say Jesus this could be thirteen or fourteen because of the way that they were rolling,” said Tom Keca, Oil Barons Head Coach and General Manager on the ROCK 97.9 post-game show.

“We were able to make a game out of it, it was unfortunate I thought the third period we did real well to make it 7-5 and then they happen to flip a puck from their own zone and it happens to find the back of the net.”

The turning point in the game was an extended five-on-three penalty kill that saw both Jackson McKinstry and Shane Fraser in the penalty box. The Saints were in the offensive zone for the entire two minutes until the penalty kill came to an end when Fraser and McKinstry were sprung on a two-on-one. Fraser scored his third of the season.

“We came right out of the box and [Fraser] pots that one. It sort of was a rallying cry on the bench we had guys that were very vocal on the bench which was good to see it’s just unfortunate, you can’t spot the Spruce Grove Saints a 7-1 lead and expect to come back and we almost did.”

McKinstry notched one of his own on the power-play just 1:05 later, and Dylan Rauh scored his first Junior ‘A’ goal only 20 seconds after that to make it a 7-4 game heading into the third.

The Third Period

Down by three goals with 20 minutes to go the Oil Barons played some of their best hockey of the season, holding the Saints to just three shots on goal while firing 14 at Brett Zarowny who made 23 of 28 saves for his tenth win of the season.

Jordan Steenbergen knocked in a Dylan Rauh rebound with 4:25 to go in the period, pulling the MOB within a pair to make it interesting, but MacKlin Pichonsky scored an empty netter in the final minute to seal the game for the Saints.

“I know that Spruce Grove is good and that but we just had brain farts, and every brain fart we had just stunk out the joint and we ended up facing-off at center which was unfortunate, it’s probably the first time this year that something like that’s happened,” said Keca.

Ravi Dattani would close out the night stopping 20 of 25 shots faced in a losing effort.

Bright Spots

Jordan Steenbergen continued to impress in his third game as an Oil Baron, he now has two goals and two assists this season.

“He’s [Steenbergen] a gamer, and he competes and he’s vocal on the bench you can tell that he’s got the instant respect of all of the players just because of where he’s been and what he’s won and we need that right now. I thought Kyler Newman was outstanding today for his first game in how many weeks I don’t know how long it’s been but those were the bright spots today.

Newman returned to action after missing 19 games with a broken jaw suffered in the second game of the regular season against the Spruce Grove Saints at the Casman Centre on Saturday, Sep. 12.

The Oil Barons scored another power-play goal on one of their four opportunities, although the Saints were able to convert on one of their three power-plays.

Moving Ahead

The schedule only gets tougher for the MOB.

It’s a return to where his Head Coaching career started for Tom Keca in Lloydminster tonight, Keca was behind the bench with the Bobcats for four seasons from 2007-2010, he’ll also take on his former boss in ex-MOB coach Gord Thibodeau.

The Bobcats sit first in the AJHL with 38 points, they’ve suffered just three losses this season after tonight’s game it’s a quick turnaround for a matinee match against a very good Bonnyville Pontiacs club Sunday afternoon.

“It’s one of those games where you take your lumps and you have to get better and we’re going to have to use this as a learning experience in the sense that again these upper echelon teams we play two more of them on this road trip you can’t afford to have brain farts for five or ten minutes or else they’re going to make you pay.”

Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. tonight, you can catch the game live on ROCK 97.9 with the pre-game show starting at 7:15 p.m.

Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.