The Fort McMurray Oil Barons split a weekend home set against the Lloydminster Bobcats. The Bobcats spoiled the home opener with a 3-1 victory. Caden Steinke led the way with a pair of goals while Carter Schmidt had the lone marker for the MOB.
Lloydminster burst out with three goals in the opening frame. Steinke got his first when a puck landed on the shoulder of Gratton and bounced into the slot for the Calgary product to wired home. The Bobcats then struck on the power-play. A centering pass from Ben Aucoin hit the skate of Caden Cabena and alluded Gratton, making it 2-0 Lloydminster. An Oil Baron turnover led to Lloydminster’s third goal. Ryan Redekopp carried the puck down the right wing and fed a wide open Steinke for an easy tap-in and his second of the game. Schmidt’s goal came on the power-play late in the second period. A cross ice feed from Evan Arnold bounced of a number of skates before working its way to Schmidt, and the Kelowna native fired home his second of the season.
Fort McMurray got some revenge on Saturday. Seven different goalscorers lit the lamp for the Oil Barons as they defeated the Bobcats 7-4. After a scoreless first period, Jason Huang started the party with a one-timer from the right face-off circle, past Jack Solomon. The Mob then struck on a 5-on-3 power-play. A shot from Demitri DiFlorio was stopped by Solomon, but the rebound eventually worked its way to Ryan Arnold, and he shoveled home his first goal of the year to make it 2-0 Oil Barons. Fort McMurray then made it 3-0. Rylan Ringor was parked in behind Lloydminster’s net and he picked out Ethan King in the slot for King’s first career AJHL goal. Gruener made it 4-0 Fort McMurray after his shot fooled a screened Solomon, for his second of the season.
The Bobcats didn’t go away. 15 seconds after Gruener’s marker, Redekopp led a 2-on-1 in Fort McMurray’s zone, feeding Dalton MacGillivray at the backdoor, making it 4-1. Then 1:25 later, Remy Spooner forked a loose puck over the shoulder of Gratton, and the Fort McMurray lead was cut in half. Lloydminster made it a one goal game in the third period after MacGillivray scored his second goal of the night. However, the Oil Barons found a response. On a power-play, Ryan Arnold picked out Evan Arnold in the left face-off circle, and the older brother snapped home the puck to make it 5-3. A rebound goal that jammed home by Simon Gaul made it 6-3 Fort McMurray. That marker was Gaul’s first career AJHL goal. Then, in the late stages of the game, Gruener led a 2-on-1 shorthanded, and found Brett Boucher to extend the lead to 7-3. Ishan Mittoo scored a power-play goal to make it 7-4, as the Oil Barons marched on to their second win of the season.
Fort McMurray will be back in action on Friday when they head to Calgary for the AJHL Showcase. They will take on the 4-1 Camrose Kodiaks with puck drop at 11am. All the action will be on Home Hardware’s Oil Barons Hockey on the MOB Radio Network, starting with the pre-game show at 10:45am.