It’s do-or-die for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons Sunday night.
A 5-1 loss to Whitecourt on Friday night gave the Wolverines a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-five opening round playoff matchup.
“All they did really was hold serve, in the playoffs you’re supposed to be able to win at home,” said Oil Barons Head Coach Tom Keca on the ROCK 97.9 post-game show. “So really all they did is what they were supposed to do so now they’re going to come to our building where we’re going get last change and hopefully we can gut out a good effort on Sunday and we can get some momentum back on our side.”
The Wolverines took the lead just sixty seconds in thanks to a goal from Erik Pedersen.
Will Conley would tie it up heading into the second with about seven minutes left on a break-away, he was the recipient of an incredible lob pass by Tanner Miller. Conley has goals in both games in this series.
“We gave up a goal in the first minute which is unfortunate and then all of a sudden we have to kill three penalties in a row,” said Keca. At one point the power-plays were five-to-one and then of course what sometimes happens is that number gets closer at the end of the game when it’s four – one you get a couple of power plays but at the end of the day we have to capitalize on our opportunities.”
Fort McMurray finished the night oh-for-four on the man-advantage, Whitecourt scored one power-play goal on five opportunities.
That man-advantage marker came from back-door tap-in goal by Joseph Nardi just 4:09 into the third period to make it 4-1 Whitecourt following Wolverines goals from Bryson Traptow late in the second and another early goal in the third from Cory Santoro who walked out from behind the goal, spun, fired and scored.
Eric Krienke scored the fifth Whitecourt goal with about three minutes to play in the game.
In the second period the Oil Barons lost another defenceman to an MCL injury, this time it was 17-year-old Jarrod Isley, his status moving forward is uncertain. The Oil Barons have six affiliated players travelling with them, but AJHL rules stipulate that you can only have five on your lineup so the MOB were forced to play a man short and decided to sit Mackenzie Mindus.
Isley is the sixth Oil Barons blue-liner on the IR along with Jordan Steenbergen, Tyler Dea, Mitchell Torrens, Kyler Newman and Marcus Kichton.
“This is one of those things sometimes the most dangerous opponents is one where their backs are right up against the wall. Even though the score line says 5-1, it was 2-1 at the end of the second. We’re giving them all that they can handle. I can’t fault the effort.”
Game three is scheduled for 8 p.m. Sunday at the Casman Centre.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.
Photo taken on January 16, 2016 in Fort McMurray by Dan Lines.