Oil Barons Game Recap (Dec 7th)

Five different Oil Barons found the back of the net, as Fort McMurray downed the Blackfalds Bulldogs 5-3 at Centerfire Place. Demitri DiFlorio scored his first career AJHL goal, Simon Diaz had a pair of assists, while Gabe Gratton made 21 saves for the win.

Despite very few shots on goal in the opening period, both teams found the back of the net. Blackfalds opened the scoring on a 2-on-1, when the league’s leader in points, Brenden Ross, sniped home his 29th goal of the season. It took about three minutes for the Oil Barons to respond. Rylan Ringor picked off an errant pass for a breakaway on Wilson Maxfield, and he slipped the shot through the five hole of the goaltender to make it 1-1. The second period saw an explosion of offense. Fort McMurray took their first lead of the game six and half minutes into the frame. A shot from Dylan Bidyk was initially stopped by Maxfield, but the puck slipped in behind Bulldogs’ netminder and Carter Schmidt jammed home the rebound. Blackfalds found an equalizer on the power-play. Off a face-off win, Tanner Willick stepped to the middle of the ice and wired a shot over the shoulder of Gratton, making it 2-2. It just took the Oil Barons 1:19 to restore their lead. DiFlorio picked out Keefe Gruener streaking down the left wing, and the captain found space just beyond Maxfield’s glove for his 9th goal of the season. In the dying stages of the second period, Blackfalds tied the game once again. A shot from the blue-line by David Brandes was blocked and the rebound skittered to a wide open Ross, who deposited his second of the game and 30th of the season, making it 3-3. Eight seconds is all it took for Fort McMurray to reply. Simon Diaz flew down the right wing, squeezed past a defender, and found a wide open Ryan Arnold in the slot, who slapped in the 4-3 goal. The game tightened up considerably in the third period. Ethan Morrow replaced Maxfield in Blackfalds’ goal, while Gratton was called on to make a couple of stellar stops to keep his team in front. Gratton’s best save was early in the frame, when he dove to his left to get the end of his glove on a Jayden Joly effort. Fort McMurray found the insurance marker with a little more than four and a half minutes remaining in the game. DiFlorio scooped forward a bouncing puck in the neutral zone, before he stepped into the slot, and ripped home his first career goal, top corner on Morrow. That gave Fort McMurray a 5-3 lead, which they carried to the final buzzer.

The Oil Barons will remain home for the weekend, as they get set for a pair of games against the Olds Grizzlys. The first match is Saturday at Centerfire Place with puck drop at 7:30pm.