Another rough start for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons on the road found them down by two within the first three minutes of play. It was a hole they’d never dig themselves out of in an eventual 4-1 loss to the Drayton Valley Thunder at the Omniplex.
“We didn’t really get a lot of second and third opportunities,” said Tom Keca, Head Coach and General Manager on the ROCK 97.9 post-game show. “It’s tough when you come in off the road and you get off to such a poor start, we gift wrapped that first goal […] you’re right behind the eight ball.”
Jordan Taupert opened the scoring 1:55 into the game, and then it was Troy Rapuano knocking in his own rebound after being left alone in the slot just 56 seconds later to give the Thunder a two goal lead.
Ravi Dattani stopped 40 of 43 shots faced as Drayton Valley’s final goal was an empty-net marker. Carter Seminuk was excellent for the Thunder turning aside 29 of 30 Oil Barons drives directed towards his goal.
Although Seminuk’s job was made easier by the great work of his defencemen to box out the MOB and clear away rebounds, very rarely did the Oil Barons get a sniff at a second opportunity shot.
After a Brayden Harris goal gave the Thunder a 3-0 lead Damon Porter scored a goal in his second straight game to pull the MOB within a pair at 15:26, the 17-year-old rookie chucked the puck on net from near the face-off dot and it managed to fool Seminuk for his second goal of the season.
Other than that goal the Oil Barons couldn’t get a whole lot going, especially off the rush.
“In the third period twice we come over our blue-line on a three-on-two and we can’t even gain their blue-line with puck possession,” said Keca. “We told our guys we wanted to keep things simple and we wanted to drive wide and rather than look for a wrap-around we wanted to throw pucks in the goaltenders feet, he’s a big body and try to get second and third opportunities.”
“Again, young team a couple of mistakes that we can’t afford to make and when you struggle to score goals you can’t spot teams leads like we did tonight,” continued Keca.
One bright spot was another display of Mitchell Torrens’ willingness to battle for his teammates as he fought for the third time this season, his victim in this game was Michael Doneff, as the diminutive rookie’s fighting prowess likely catches most off-guard.
“Mitch is a hard-nosed player what you see is what you get, he’s an honest player and a guy that every team would love to have and we’re fortunate to have him,” said Keca. “He plays the back end, he can play forward and he’s willing to drop the mitts and those types of guys are invaluable and you need guys like that if you’re going to build success.”
Neither team converted on the man-advantage as the Oil Barons were blanked on five opportunities, Drayton Valley held four failed power-plays.
Looking to weather the Storm
After a 5-3 victory on home ice the Oil Barons will take on the Grande Prairie Storm tonight, a win for the MOB would pull them into a tie for the final playoff spot in the North Division.
“We held court when they came up to [Fort McMurray] and they’re probably going to want to do the same tomorrow. The two teams play a little bit of a similar style with the two-man forecheck and the third guy stays high and sort of lurks in the weeds.”
Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Revolution Place you can listen to the game on ROCK 97.9 starting with the pre-game show at 7:15 p.m.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.
Photo taken on October 31, 2015 in Fort McMurray by Dan Lines.