Fort McMurray split a weekend on the road to wrap up their pre-Christmas schedule. The MOB stormed out to a 6-2 victory over the Drayton Valley Thunder on Friday, before being shutout 3-0 at the hands of the Whitecourt Wolverines.
The Oil Barons jumped out to a fast start in Drayton Valley, tallying four goals in the first 20 minutes. Fort McMurray opened the scoring three minutes in on the power-play. Ryan Arnold released a shot from the blue-line that was tipped past Koen Tyssen by Keefe Gruener, for his 11th goal of the season. The captain doubled Fort McMurray’s lead on another power-play marker. This time Ryan Arnold set up Gruener for a one-timer at the top of the left circle, making it 2-0 MOB. The Oil Barons continued to pour it on late in the frame. A point shot from Spencer Kunz was stopped by Tyssen, but the rebound ricocheted off Jason Huang for the Edmonton product’s fifth goal of the year. Simon Gaul rounded out the scoring in the first period. Charging down the left wing, Gaul fired a shot past the blocker of Tyssen, making it 4-0 Oil Barons. Drayton Valley found a response in the second period. A shot from Josh Perreault was kicked out by Gabe Gratton, however, Dryden Tomkow followed up the rebound, poking it home to make it 4-1. Gaul restored Fort McMurray’s four goal advantage. After receiving a lead feed from Anthony Campbell, Gaul took off on a partial breakaway, muscling a shot through the glove of Tyssen for his team leading 15th goal of the year. That ended the night for Tyssen, who was replaced by Xavier Roy. The Thunder got another goal back before the end of the second period. A turnover in the neutral zone sprang Perreault on a breakaway, and the Red Deer product snapped a shot over the shoulder of Gratton for his first career AJHL goal. As the game tightened up in the third period, Fort McMurray found the icing on the cake. While on another power-play, Dylan Bidyk wired a shot that bounced off of Roy and trickled into the goal, for his fourth goal of the year. The Oil Barons carried the 6-2 score to the final buzzer.
In Whitecourt, Fort McMurray got off to a good start by outshooting the Wolverines 7-0, but they couldn’t solve the puzzle called Ben Charette. The goaltender turned aside every shot he faced, as Whitecourt slowly got themselves into the game. They also found the opening goal in the first period. After a defensive zone turnover, Whitecourt had numbers in front of Fort McMurray’s net, and Dylan Leslie cashed in for his seventh goal of the year, making it 1-0 Wolverines. Whitecourt extended their lead early in the second period. Spencer Rheaume picked up the puck in the left faceoff circle, had room to step to the middle of the ice, then fired his shot off the post and in. Whitecourt continued to look for more insurance in the second period, but Noah Nelson made several stellar stops to keep his team in the contest. The play evened out in the third period, however, the Wolverines scored early to make it 3-0. A shot from the blue-line by Jack Franklin was stopped by Nelson, only for Joey Melo to jam home the rebound for his 13th goal of the season. The Oil Barons pressed, but they could not solve Charette, and the Wolverines claimed victory at JDA Place.
It’s some well deserved time off for the Oil Barons for the holidays. They will return to action on December 29th and 30th for a pair of games against the Camrose Kodiaks. Both matchups will start at 7:30pm.