Oil Barons Recap (January 26 & 27)

The Oil Barons swept their first weekend series of the season, defeating the Drumheller Dragons at Centerfire Place. The wins were the first two victories for Fort McMurray under interim head coach Carter Duffin. Carter Schmidt led the way offensively with a five point weekend, while Gage Stewart was stellar in net in both games.

Friday’s game saw the Oil Barons rally from a 3-0 deficit to snap their nine game losing streak. Connor Poffenroth opened the scoring with a power-play marker in the first period, sliding the puck through Stewart for his 17th goal of the season. Austin Reschny scored a pair of goals in the second period. The first was on a breakaway, where he picked the top corner. The second was off a rebound, where he swiped the puck past Stewart. However, the Oil Barons responded less than a minute after falling down 3-0. Rylan Ringor scampered on a partial breakaway, where he dropped the puck for Nik Hoogendoorn, and the Gibsons, BC product cashed in for his eighth goal of the season. Ringor then scored his eighth goal of the year making it 3-2 before the end of the second period. A lane opened up for the man from Winnipeg, and Ringor outwaited Sean Cootes, lifting the puck over the outstretched pad of the goaltender. Ryan Arnold set the tone early in the third period. Picking up the puck at the bottom of the faceoff circle, Arnold fired home the puck from a tight angle for his 10th goal of the year, tying the game at three. It was back and forth action through most of the third period with both goaltenders standing tall, until the Oil Barons got a late power-play. With less than two and half minutes remaining, a Dylan Bidyk point shot was blocked and the rebound slid to Vincent Lamanna, who slammed home the game winner, making it 4-3 Fort McMurray. Carter Schmidt added an empty net goal and the MOB got interim head coach Carter Duffin his first win of the season.

Saturday’s game saw the physical play continue between the two teams. Several heavy hits were delivered in the first period and the goalies were outstanding keeping the game scoreless through 20 minutes of play. Drumheller opened the scoring in the second. A bouncing puck in the neutral zone was scooped up by Luke McPhee and he skated into the Fort McMurray zone, where he set up Vann Yuhas on a two-on-one. But the Oil Barons responded 1:25 later. A shot from Arnold was blocked in front of Jameson Kaine and the bouncing puck was corralled by Schmidt, who snapped home the equalizer. Schmidt struck again with 20 seconds to go in the second period to put Fort McMurray out front. Demitri DiFlorio forced a turnover in the offensive zone and Keegan Ingram found a wide open Schmidt, who went bar-down for his 15th goal of the year. Fort McMurray’s defense stood out in the third period. Early on it was tested, as the Oil Barons killed off a five minute major penalty without giving Drumheller too many chances. Gage Stewart also showed his value as the Marathon, Ontario native made an unbelievable stick save on Josh Diegel to preserve the 2-1 advantage. With less than two minutes to go and with Kaine on the bench, Lamanna forced a turnover at his own blue-line and set up Simon Gaul for an empty net goal, sending the Oil Barons home with a 3-1 victory. 

The Oil Barons will look for their first three game winning streak of the season as they wrap up their homestand on Tuesday night. The Bonnyville Pontiacs come to town for the third meeting of the season between the two teams. Puck drop is at 7:30pm.

Purchase your tickets here: https://tickets.fortmcmurrayoilbarons.ca/events/26155-bonnyville-pontiacs-vs-fort-mcmurray-oil-barons