They may only meet a couple of times a season but the rivalry was fierce Friday night in Drumheller as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons won a hard fought 2-1 battle against the Dragons.
The win snapped a three game slide for the MOB (8-6-3) and was the second time this season they have knocked off the Dragons (13-6-0).
“This win for us is even more valuable psychologically rather than just the two points that we’re going to get for the win because it proves that we can play with a lead in the third period and we can play in these tight games when everybody commits,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca.
Slow starts had been a recent trend for the MOB as well as the inability to hold a lead when entering the third period. The MOB broke both those trends against the Dragons as the team put forth a complete 60 minutes.
The Dragons came out hard in the opening frame, out shooting the Barons 13-5 but the MOB weathered the storm and came out unscathed.
The game was physical throughout and the first period ended with Luke Harvie dropping the mitts with Kiano Robinson. Harvie was making his return to the Oil Barons line-up after missing the last 11 games with an injury.
“Maybe he was tired, I don’t know,” said Keca with a laugh as Harvie’s return lasted only one period. “Luke’s an individual who really wants to please and really wants to help out his teammates, he’s a great guy who our players can look up to and depend on.”
The Dragons got on the board first when Dawson Bruneski was allowed to walk in off the left point and beat Chris Curr up over the glove hand 2:55 into the second period.
The Barons used a powerplay mid-way through the period to tie the game 1-1. Jarred White found Jack Hamly at the side of the goal and Hamly roofed a shot on Daniel Allin for his third of the year.
“Jack just skates so well and that affords him so many opportunities offensively and we bumped him to the wing with (Liam) Izyk because we think that’s a good pair,” said Keca on Hamly who has three goals and four points since moving from centre to the wing.
The Barons took the lead late in the period off a Dragons turnover when Reed Morison stripped a Dragons defender and dished to Brendan Stafford who made no mistake burying his fourth goal of the year. With the assist, Morison extended his point streak to seven games.
In the third period, the MOB were unable to put the Dragons away with three straight powerplay opportunities but were able to shut them down, backstopped by a strong game from Curr who made 34 saves in the win.
“It’s always more special the win when everybody contributes from our goaltender to our defensive core – it’s good everyone is doing a little bit and it’s amazing how much you can accomplish when 20 guys do a little bit rather than one or two guys doing a bunch of the work,” said Keca.
Both teams played short in the third period after Jack Hamly and Dylan Wenzel went toe-to-toe after Wenzel responded to a hard hit he received from Hamly. The MOB finished the game with 10 forwards while the Dragons played with just four defencemen after the two game ejections per side.
The MOB will head to Camrose Saturday to take on the Kodiaks. Pre-game show begins at 6:45 p.m. with Taylor Pope on Country 93.3.
Country 93.3 post-game show with MOB Head Coach Tom Keca.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmuray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines