Video highlights from last night's game at the Casman Centre.
It may not have been the prettiest win of the season but a big two points none the less for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons as they squeaked out a 3-2 win over the winless Lloydminster Bobcats (0-8-0) Friday night.
A sloppy game that saw players falling and sliding all over the Casman Centre ice and left Oil Barons Head Coach Tom Keca frustrated with his team’s effort despite winning their third straight game and improving their record to 7-2-0.
“We created zero scoring chances in the first period and we had two scoring chances after two periods,” said a frustrated Keca after the game. “We played on the perimeter, we didn’t skate, we didn’t finish any hits, I’m not happy not one single bit.”
The Barons opened the scoring 12:10 into the first period when Brett Edwards curled off the half wall and fired a shot over the shoulder of Austin McGrath for his fourth goal of the year. Jack Hamly picked up the lone assist.
The second period generated very few scoring chances until the final two minutes of the frame. Brandon Ralph slipped behind the Bobcats defence and was hauled down on a breakaway by Adam Wilson. Wilson was sent to the box for the trip and put the league’s second best powerplay to work.
The Barons controlled the puck for nearly a minute before JC Thivierge sent a seeing eye shot through from the point that beat McGrath low on the glove side with 12 seconds remaining in the period. The goal was Thivierge’s team leading fifth and third on the man advantage.
“While we had good puck movement I thought that we were really perimeter and it was actually kind of funny because on the bench we yelled we haven’t got one shot and then JC (Thivierge) hammers one in,” said Keca with a smile.
The Bobcats would hang around in the third cutting the lead to 2-1 when Aaron Kellogg ripped a shot off the cross bar and in past Forbes Ploszaj.
The MOB would restore their two goal lead three minutes later on another man advantage. A give and go between Hamly and Thivierge ended up in the back of the net when Hamly hammered home his third of the year off a great dish from his defenceman.
However, the two goal lead was short lived as Caden Benson cut the lead to one, 52 seconds after the Hamly goal, jumping on a loose puck in the crease.
“They were both turnovers where we had weak backside pressure on the backcheck,” said Keca on the two goals against. “When you allow a team to hang around, now all of a sudden you’re allowing an unfortunate bounce or maybe a questionable call or anything like that to come in and affect the outcome of the game.”
The MOB survived a late flurry from the Bobcats, picking up their second win of the year against one of their division rivals.
“In this league you have to be ready to play every single night, Lloydminster deserved better tonight…we got lucky,” said Keca.
The two teams will meet again Saturday night. Puck drop is set for 8:00p.m. at the Casman Centre.
You can listen to the game on Country 93.3 beginning with the pre-game show at 7:45p.m. with Taylor Pope.
Fort McMurrayite Brandon Ralph was named team captain earlier this week. “I watched a lot of captains over the days and a lot of Oil Barons teams so it’s kind of a childhood dream come true for me,” said Ralph on being given the ‘C’.
“I like to be a leader on the team and take a leadership role and it’s a huge honour and I know I’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill so with that comes expectations but at the end of the day it’s about getting two points.”
Ralph becomes the first McMurrayite to be named captain since Brad Stebner during the 2009-10 season. Taner Miller was also named an Alternate Captain. He will join Will Conley and Jordan Steenbergen as the team’s three alternates.
JC Thivierge has 3 goals and 6 points in his last 3 games. The defenceman leads the Barons with 5 goals and 11 points in 9 games this season.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mycmurray.com.
Photographer: Dan Lines