The first quarter of the season is over for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and it is certainly one that they will want to put behind them.
The MOB find themselves in 7th place in the AJHL?s North Division with a 4-9-1 record and 9 points. The schedule makers certainly didn?t do the MOB any favours as nine of their first 14 games were against opponents who are ranked in the top 15 teams in the country. The MOB went 1-7-1 against Spruce Grove (12-2-0), Sherwood Park (14-1-0) and Brooks (14-0-0) in the opening month of the season.
You would have to think that the toughest part of their schedule is now behind them but the MOB still need to work on their own play and being more consistent on a night in, night out basis.
The Barons played Sherwood Park last weekend on the road and lost 4-3 but it was a competitive game and the MOB had a chance to come away with the victory.
This past weekend at the Casman Centre, the MOB were embarrassed on home ice by the Crusaders who dominated the two games winning 3-0 on Friday and 8-1 Saturday.
?It?s a step back for sure, I thought our compete level especially Friday and Sunday (of last weekend) against Sherwood Park and Spruce Grove we were better and we played with a lot more compete than we did at home this weekend,? said MOB head coach Bob Beatty. ?I don?t have an answer as to why we would lay two eggs in our own building it?s disappointing. We have to get back on track in a hurry.?
On Friday, Chris Curr stood on his head for the Barons and kept them in the game. The third year Oil Baron netminder made 40 saves in the 3-0 loss.
Jacob Franczak had a pair of goals for the Crusaders and Blake Sydlowski scored the other while Carter Gylander picked up his first shutout of the season.
The lone silver lining from the game was the Oil Barons became the first team this season to keep all three of Carter Savoie, Arjun Atwal and William Zapernick off the scoresheet in the same game. The trio sit 1-2-3 in league scoring and have combined for 38 goals and 95 points in 15 games this season.
On Saturday, the Barons shot themselves in the foot in the first period by taking four straight penalties and putting the league?s 2nd ranked power play to work. The Crusaders scored on three straight power plays to open up a 4-0 first period lead and chased Curr after he allowed four goals on 11 shots.
?This is a team that obviously has a highly powered offence and exceptional power play and we give up two five-on-three goals and it?s ridiculous to think that you?re going to have any type of success when you play stupid,? said Beatty on the undisciplined penalties his team took early in the game.
The only non-powerplay goal came from former Oil Baron Jarred White who blew past the MOB defence and tucked the puck around the out-stretched leg of Curr for his 9th goal of the season. White had a highlight reel weekend in his return to the Casman Centre with a goal and a beautiful pass Friday night to set up Franczak.
The goals kept coming in the second period with Carter Savoie scoring his league leading 20th and 21st as the Crusaders peppered Evan Fradette once he entered the game.
The MOB got one on the board after a good forecheck from Konrad Belcourt got the puck to Max Struss who dished to Max Johnson and he fired home his second of the year.
?I think we were prepared to compete but we just played stupid and turned it into a shinny game against a team that is much more high powered than we are, it?s disappointing,? said Beatty.
The MOB will now look ahead to the Bonnyville Pontiacs who come to the Casman Centre on Tuesday night. Puck-drop for the game is at 7:30 p.m. at the Casman Centre.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines