Fort McMurray Oil Barons captain Jetlan Houcher scored a pair of goals and goaltender Tanner Jaillet made 20 saves for a shutout as the Barons opened 2014 with a 5-0 win over the Lloydminster Bobcats Friday night at the Casman Centre.
“We really kept them to the perimeter and did a good job of grinding out a victory,” said Barons head coach and general manager Gord Thibodeau.
Alex Cromwell scored the game-winning goal exactly one minute into the first period, scoring his fourth of the season. The MOB would take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission with a 10-6 advantage in shots.
Adam Durkee scored the only goal of the second period, banging in his own rebound past Lloydminster goaltender Devin Green with 4:01 to go in the middle frame.
Early in the third, the duo of Houcher and Ryan Bloom would team up to double the Barons lead in a 26 second span. At 3:12 of the third Bloom passed the puck over to Houcher, who made no mistake by burying it into a wide-open net. Less than 30 seconds later, the two repeated the play giving Houcher his second of the game and 23rd of the season.
The final goal of the game came from MOB defenceman Austin Yadlowski who shot the puck into the offensive zone from just inside the red line. The puck bounced off the glass and ended up in the net for Yadlowski's fifth of the season.
The shutout was Jaillet's fifth of the season. With the win, the MOB improve their record to 31-5-3.
“It's always tough when you get back from Christmas, you're not quite sure what the boys are going to have,” said Thibodeau. “You're always worried about that, but I thought we got stronger as the game went on and that's a good sign.”
The Barons and Bobcats will meet again Saturday for an 8 p.m. game at the Casman Centre.
Photo credit: Robert Murray/Fort McMurray Today