FORT MCMURRAY, AB (January 18, 2013) — Justin Fraser (Hussar, AB) notched his eighth goal of the season, but a pair of goals in a span of 1:12 was the key for the Okotoks Oilers, who took a 2-1 decision at the Casman Centre on Friday night.
The game began 40 minutes late after a long 13 hour bus ride for the Oilers through horrid road conditions, needing to bypass the still-closed Highway 63.
“I thought we did some things well,” said head coach Gord Thibodeau. “But, I think, our lack of physicality… you've got a team that potentially could be fatigued and we had 16 hits – just in comparison, we had 44 against Grande Prairie last week.”
The Barons were coming off a 5-3 win over Grande Prairie just under a week ago, but only managed Fraser's sole goal at the 5:04 mark of the second period. His goal came off of a one-timer from the front of the net, after being fed by a perfect centring pass from new captain Mike Marianchuk (Innisfail, AB), who is now on a two-game point streak.
“He's played well, even tonight he set up the goal but he easily probably had our best chance of the third period,” said Thibodeau of his new captain. “Maybe a little unlucky not to score, but he's one of the few guys that created some opportunities tonight and got pucks through. That was really the difference; his line was a lot more determined to get pucks through to the net.”
It was the highlight of a second period where the Barons outshot the Oilers 12-5 (and 27-26 for the game). Soon after Fraser's goal, MOB goaltender Ethan Wood (Jasper, AB) was tested on two consecutive breakaways for Oiler forward John Edwardh; the first off of a turnover in front of the net, the second immediately thereafter when the Barons cleared the turnover straight to an Oiler at the blue line, who fed Edwardh for a second wide-open chance that was stoned by Wood.
“He made some big stops to keep us in the game,” said Thibodeau of his goaltender. “We were sloppy defensively all game … in the third they came at us pretty hard, and he made some big stops to keep it 2-1.”
In the third, however, the Oilers seized control with two goals and a 12-8 shot margin. At 8:03, Greg Lamoureux fired a slap shot from the high slot off the post and in to knot the game up, and 1:12 later, Tanner Ockey converted on a net front scramble to give the Oilers a lead they would not relinquish.
Wood stopped 24 of 26 saves overall while Keith Hamilton stopped 26 of 27 for the win in net for Okotoks.
The Barons are back in action tomorrow night hosting the Canmore Eagles, winners of eight straight games, at 8:00. Pre-game coverage starts at 7:45 on Country 93.3.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
1. Keith Hamilton (26 saves, 27 shots)
2. Tanner Ockey (1 game-winning goal)
3. Ethan Wood (24 saves, 26 shots)