The Fort McMurray Oil Barons moved into first place in the AJHL Tuesday night with a 5-2 win over the Grande Prairie Storm at the Canada Games Arena in Grande Prairie.
“There was some good and some bad,” said Barons head coach and general manager Gord Thibodeau. “I thought we started pretty slow for the first 7 or 8 minutes, but then we got going in the second half of the first period. Gordichuk played very well in the first to help us hold our footing there. Very undisciplined in the second period, took a lot of stupid penalties that put us down for half the period, but I thought we came out strong in the third and we were able to capitalize on our chances.”
Danton Ayotte would get the MOB on the board first, scoring a net-front goal at 7:53 of the first period. Barons goaltender Jesse Gordichuk was the Barons best player in the opening twenty minutes, making 16 saves including a big stop on a 2-on-1.
The Storm would open the second on the powerplay, but the Barons would kill it off successfully and double their lead, after Kaiden Tobin found the back of the net with a shot through a screen. Adam Wilcox assisted on Tobin's goal for his first point of the season. However, the MOB's two goal lead would be short-lived as Stephen Doane would get the Storm on the board at 7:33 of the second and Jade McMullen would tie the game for the home team with a powerplay goal at 15:03. The Barons would re-take the lead less than 1:30 later when Brennan Saulnier beat Jacob Suppes on a wraparound at 16:22 of the second.
Jetlan Houcher would restore the Barons two-goal lead, after being left wide-open at the short-side on the powerplay at 4:40 of the third. The Barons' final goal would come from Adam Durkee who extended his goal streak to five games with his 13th of the season 15:40. Saulnier assisted on Durkee's goal for his third point of the game. Thibodeau praised Saulnier's effort in Tuesday's win against the Storm.
“He was heavy on the puck all night and just really competed hard for loose pucks,” said Thibodeau. “He's a handful for any defenceman because he's always coming at you.”
With the win, the Barons record improves to 33-5-3.
The MOB will be right back at Wednesday Jan.8 as they travel to Whitecourt to take on the Wolverines. Puck drop for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m.