By Robert Murray, Fort McMurray Today
It wasn’t a complete effort but once the final whistle went, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons walked away with a 3-1 victory over Drayton Valley and a commanding 2-0 lead in their first round playoff series.
The win almost wasn’t to be as the Thunder and MOB played a close game that was eventually tipped in favour of the MOB thanks to goals 27 seconds apart in the third period from John Teets and Ryan Bloom.
Despite the victory, Oil Barons head coach Gord Thibodeau didn’t mince words following the game.
“We got a win that’s the good part,” said MOB head coach Gord Thibodeau. “Lack of effort. Little things, we’re talking about skilled guys throwing pucks away when we’ve been fighting that all year. Here we are in playoffs and we’ve still got our best players giving pucks away all over the ice.”
The MOB played a good first period that featured a great individual effort from Kevin Miller as the forward beat Marc-Olivier Daigle over the shoulder for the games first goal less than two minutes into the game. After recording only one goal and two points in his final ten regular season games, Miller has now scored twice and added an assist in his last two playoff games.
“Yeah I was slumping a little bit there before playoffs so it’s always nice to get back on the scoresheet but what’s most important is the wins,” said Miller. “We’re really happy with the 2-0 lead in the series right now.”
The visiting team was able to jump right back into the game to start the middle frame, with the Thunder's Nathan Deyell tying the score less than two minutes into the second. The MOB were given a chance to put the game away with a late second period 5-on-3 advantage, but they were unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
With Michael Cardinal in the box for hooking in the third period, Curtis Lewington fed his blue line partner Teets a one-timer that ripped its way through everything and tickled the mesh behind Daigle.
Twenty-seven seconds later, Ryan Bloom took control of the puck off the face-off and deposited it into the back of the net to add on the insurance goal.
For the second straight night, Tanner Jaillet stopped all but one shot, making 27 saves on 28 shots.
Up two games to none, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons will look to close out their first round playoff series Sunday afternoon in Drayton Valley. Puck drop for Sunday’s game is at 4 p.m
Photo credit: Robert Murray/Fort McMurray Today