FORT MCMURRAY, AB (March 9, 2013) — Six seconds away from the end of the season, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons were granted a second life by a Scott Pooley (Granger, IN) goal; and less than a minute into overtime, the rookie forward capped off a career night with the game-winner, as the MOB stunned the Whitecourt Wolverines 5-4 in overtime on Saturday night.
With the win, the Barons force a decisive Game 5 in Whitecourt on Monday night.
Fort McMurray never led in regulation, as Whitecourt opened the scoring at the 13:51 mark of the first period when Evan Warmington banked a shot in short-side on Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) for a 1-0 Wolverine lead.
But just 33 seconds into the second period, a point shot from Alex Cromwell (McKinney, TX), filling in once again on defence, was deflected in by Kevin Miller (Stony Plain, AB) for his second goal of the series and a tie game.
However, it only took the Wolverines 36 seconds to reclaim their lead, as a centring pass by Jess Tanguy found an open Jerome Raymond at the top of the crease, whose one timer beat Jaillet top shelf for a 2-1 advantage for the visitors.
But the comeback was completed once again by the Barons at the 7:04 mark of the middle stanza, when Hayden Dawes (Stony Plain, AB) found Justin Fraser (Hussar, AB) at the left-wing face-off circle; his one-timer was saved by Whitecourt goalie Tanner Kovacs, but the rebound was jammed in by Parker Evans-Campbell (High River, AB) for his first junior A playoff point and a 2-2 score.
But before the period was through, the Wolverines capitalized on a turnover by Pooley at the side of the Barons net, as Raymond found Guertin in front of the net for a one-time snapshot goal and a 3-2 lead.
However, Pooley would soon more than redeem himself for one of the very few mistakes he'd made since being put on the back end to fill in for the team's shortage of defencemen.
Things looked to be almost over for the MOB when the Wolverines got their first power play goal of the series, off a Ryan Berlin cross-ice pass to Jared Jerome on the rush, whose wrister beat a moving Jaillet for a 4-2 margin.
Cue the comeback.
First, Mike Marianchuk (Innisfail, AB) feathered a perfect pass on the rush from the right-wing corner, to the trailer, Pooley, at the left point; his wrist shot zipped past Kovacs to bring the MOB within one.
As time ticked down, the Barons pulled their goaltender and called a timeout with just over a minute to go in the game, but the subsequent possession couldn't get them the tie.
Indeed, it was only after the Wolverines called their own timeout with just over 40 seconds left, that the Barons truly caught fire.
Pinning the puck in deep of Whitecourt territory, the MOB began firing a barrage of shots at the net, but continually missed the net – even on two point shots by Pooley.
As the game entered the final 10 seconds however, Pooley blasted a slapshot that bounced off of a teammate's skate, right back to him. His second opportunity, and fourth shot attempt of the shift, rocketed past a crowd in front of the net and behind Kovacs for a tie game, and an earth-shattering eruption of the near-capacity crowd at the Casman Centre.
As the game headed into overtime, the Barons carried over the momentum and took the decision with a fairly simple play.
Adam Durkee (Lafayette, CO) won a face-off straight back to Pooley at the blue line. His wrist shot went through a screen provided by two Whitecourt players who slid to attempt a shot block, and snuck between the pads of Kovacs for the game-winner, sending a jubilant Fort McMurray crowd home happy and sending an array of hats onto the ice.
The series' decisive Game 5 will be at 7:30 Monday at the Scott Safety Centre in Whitecourt; MOB fans can hear all the action live on Country 93.3 starting at 7:15.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
3. Jess Tanguy (1 assist)
2. Erik Pedersen (1 assist)
1. Scott Pooley (3 goals)