Fort McMurray saw their losing streak stretch to four games, after dropping both games on the road this week. Gabe Gratton was excellent in goal making 75 saves while only giving up five goals in the two games, while Keefe Gruener led the offense with a pair of goals.
Thursday saw the Oil Barons fall in Whitecourt 2-1. For most of the game, the MOB out-chanced the Wolverines in the game, only to run into a hot goaltender in Ben Charette, who made 32 saves in the win. Whitecourt opened the scoring in the first period. Braden Keeble sent a shot on goal, where Joey Melo got inside position on the defender, tipping home his 7th goal of the season. The Oil Barons played an excellent second period, full of power-play opportunities. On one man advantage, the Oil Barons thought they found the equalizer, only for the goal to be disallowed due to goaltender interference. Immediately afterwards, the Wolverines extended their lead. Dylan Leslie charged down the ice, firing a shot on goal, and Jarred Feist knocked home the rebound to make it 2-0. The Oil Barons penalty kill was excellent in the game, including killing off a 5-on-3 power-play, giving the blue and gold momentum in the third period. With an extra attacker on the ice, Fort McMurray found a response. Brett Boucher found Gruener wide open in the slot, and the captain snapped home his 6th goal of the year, making it a 2-1 game. The Oil Barons continued to press, but they couldn’t find an equalizer.
In Drayton Valley, the Oil Barons got off to a slow start in the first period. Fort McMurray thought they opened the scoring on the power-play, however, a Carter Schmidt deflection was waved off due to a high stick. The Thunder opened the scoring on the power-play in the second period. Ryan Neumann unleashed a one-timer past Gratton to make it 1-0 Drayton Valley. The Thunder extended their lead as Adam Grenier let go a shot from the blue-line that was stopped by Gratton, only for Matthias Bessey to find the rebound making it 2-0. Fort McMurray responded shortly afterwards. Anthony Campbell picked up the puck in the left face-off circle and snapped home his second goal of the season, breaking his 11 game pointless drought. 16 seconds into the third period, the Oil Barons tied the game at 2-2. Vincent Lamanna chased after a dump in, beating the defenceman to the puck, and feeding Gruener for his seventh goal of the year. The MOB had the better chances in the third period, including a power-play mid-way through the final frame, only for Chazz Nixon to slam the door on the Oil Barons. Then with less than three minutes to go, Drayton Valley scored the go ahead marker, courtesy of Brody Spencer-Ha, who stormed down the left wing, before picking the top corner. Drayton Valley added two empty net goals to seal the game.
The Oil Barons will return home for a trio of games this week. It starts on Tuesday, when the Blackfalds Bulldogs come to town. Then Grande Prairie will visit the Oil Barons on Friday and Saturday, including for the annual Teddy Bear Toss Game on Friday night.