After having their seven game win streak snapped Friday night in Whitecourt, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons were hoping for a much improved effort Saturday as they took on the lowly Drayton Valley Thunder.
The MOB (13-2-1) were able to score early and often and finally found some success on the powerplay as they hammered the Thunder 8-3.
“We challenged our players and to bounce back and get an 8-3 win was huge for us tonight,” said MOB head coach Tom Keca who was disappointed in his team’s effort in a 4-1 loss a night earlier to the Wolverines.
“There was a stretch of six or seven minutes half way through the first period where they (Drayton Valley) were taking it to us, we got caught flat footed a couple of times but a little bit of perseverance from our players and you’re able to capitalize and the powerplay gets rolling and the ice starts to tilt in one direction and I thought that for the most part we were good.”
The Barons opened the scoring twelve minutes into the first period off the rush when Jake Berry skated the puck up ice before finding Ryan Cox who beat Rory Dumelie on the far side.
A couple of late penalties by the Thunder allowed the Barons to add to their lead. Tyler Petrie deflected in a Reed Morison pass from the corner for his second goal of the year before Morison roofed a shot from in tight to put the MOB up 3-0 after one period.
“I really like Tyler (Petrie) as a player, he’s one of those guys who reminds me of a younger Shane Fraser where he works hard and he’s a guy who has to get there in order to cause a little bit of commotion,” said Keca of Petrie who had a goal and two assists in the game. “He’s definitely one of the guys that’s given us a consistent effort, he’s new to the league, he’s trying to find his way and he’s a valued member of this team.”
The Barons quickly opened up a 5-0 lead scoring twice in the opening 4:45 of the second. Cox fed Jack Hamly on a two on one for the centre’s 6th goal of the year and extended his goal scoring streak to four games.
Will Conley then buried his team leading 14th goal on a breakaway after he was sent in alone after catching the Thunder defence napping. The goal was Conley’s 9th in his last nine games.
The Thunder would score a pair of goals from Sam De Melo and Korbyn Chabot before the period was out to cut the lead to 5-2 but they were never able to get the deficit below three.
Liam Izyk buried a Morison pass in the low slot for his third goal of the year at the 12:00 minute mark of the third period to open up a 6-2 MOB lead.
A shorthanded goal from Vincent Beaudry would again cut the lead to three but the Barons would capitalize on two more powerplays to round out the scoring.
Morison scored his second of the game and picked up his fourth point of the night on a wrap around. The goal was the 19 year olds 9th of the season. Ryan Cox then sent a laser off the crossbar and in from the top of the face-off circle with ten seconds left in the game for his 8th goal of the year and second of the night giving the Barons four powerplay goals in the game.
“We were running a 1-3-1 set today and I thought we had some good puck movement, when you’re a threat to shoot from up top, the box starts to collapse which frees up more passing lanes,” said Keca whose team only had five powerplay goals through 15 games entering the game. The Barons finished the night 4-7 on the man advantage and have scored all nine of their powerplay goals this season on the road.
Chris Curr made 24 saves in picking up his fourth win of the season.
The two teams will meet again Sunday afternoon at the Drayton Valley Omniplex. Pre-game show begins at 2:45 p.m. on Country 93.3.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.