A roller coaster of emotions was felt Friday night at the Casman Centre as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons squared off with the Okotoks Oilers in a playoff type game in late October. The game featured huge swings and concluded with a wild finish that saw the MOB tie the game with the goalie out only to have the Oilers respond to win the game 6-5.
“This was a playoff game. This was a tight game where every single mistake gets magnified and when you let Austin Wong get in the slot all by himself, first of all that can’t happen and second of all he’s going to make you pay,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the winning goal.
Austin Wong scored 40 seconds after Reed Morison had tied the game 5-5 with MOB goalie Chris Curr on the bench. Wong flew off the bench and received a pass out of the corner from Kyle Gordon and the Winnipeg Jets draft pick ripped it into the top right corner for his 10th of the year.
A crushing blow to the MOB (7-5-3) who battled back multiple times throughout the game.
The Oilers (8-6-1) came out hard in the first period and scored two quick goals from Louis Jamernik and Marc Pasemko to jump out in front 2-0 before the game was five minutes old.
“They came out hard and I don’t think we were prepared for their speed and their tenacity. I didn’t like how much we got pushed around, I mean whenever there was a man on man confrontation, it was usually a guy in blue scarping himself off the ice,” said Keca.
The MOB got on the board when a Jack Hamly shot missed the net and bounced off the end wall to a pinching Taner Miller who chipped the puck in past Nick Sanders for his 4th goal of the year.
Dylan Holloway would put the visitors back up by two before the period was out when he picked the corner off the rush.
The second period featured a much different Oil Barons team. The MOB scored three unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead into the third period.
Kole Gable got the ball rolling when he tucked home a rebound off a Ryan Conroy point shot on a powerplay to cut the Oilers lead to 3-2.
The goal gave the Barons life and they kept coming at the Oilers in waves. It would be a dazzling move from Nicholas McCarry that led to the tying goal. McCarry cut to the middle off the ice and beat his man before snapping a low hard shot on goal. The rebound popped right to Fort McMurrayite Jesse Burchart who went skate to stick to tap in his first career AJHL goal.
“I’m so happy for him to get his goal it was well deserved,” said Keca on Burchart who is one of two 16 year old players on the Oil Barons this season. “His best attribute is that he can skate so (Nicholas) McCarry gets the shot on net and the only reason Jesse scores is because he’s there.”
The Barons weren’t done there as 33 seconds later an odd man rush led to Reed Morison scoring his first goal of the night after taking a pass from Brendan Stafford.
“Full credit to our team in the second period, we could’ve very easily taken those two quick goals at the beginning of the game and packed up and said ‘it’s not going to be our night’ and just mailed it in but we didn’t,” said Keca of his team’s strong second period.
The MOB were able to hold the lead until 11:47 of the third period when Holloway would score his second goal of the game from the left face-off circle. The Oilers took the lead back moments later when Jack Works stuffed home a wrap-around to make it 5-4.
With the goalie out, the Oil Barons tied the game when Morison’s shot beat a screened Sanders but the Oilers roared back to steal the two points.
Next up for the MOB they will take on the Canmore eagles Sunday afternoon at the Casman Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 post-game show.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photo by: Dan Lines