The tone for last night’s 4-2 win over Drayton Valley was set just 1:51 into the first period when Mitchell Torrens stepped up at the blue line and laid out Jordan Taupert, Torrens took a charging minor, but right off the bat the Oil Barons were engaged physically.
“I thought we took it to ‘em for a full 60 minutes for sure, it felt really good to get that ‘W’,” said Oil Barons forward Connor McCallum on the ROCK 97.9 post-game show while sporting a nice shiner and gash he earned in practice on Monday. “I think mid-way through the second period our fore-check was doing an outstanding job we started taking it to ‘em and taking the body and pucks were bouncing our way and it was nice to finally get rewarded and play with a lead going into the last ten minutes of the third.”
Fort McMurray outshot Drayton Valley 36-28, Ravi Dattani picked up his second win of the season and Garrett Mason picked up the loss for the Thunder.
The game was scoreless through 20 minutes, things opened up early in the second period.
It didn’t take long for Jordan Steenbergen to make Tom Keca look like a genius. Acquired from the Olds Grizzlys for Logan Franz and future considerations just a day before the game, Steenbergen suited up for his very first game of the year after dealing with a lower-body injury.
Just 24 seconds into the second period Steenbergen opened the scoring as he danced his way through traffic off an offensive zone face-off win, charged his way to the goal and went short side on Drayton Valley Thunder goaltender Garrett Mason.
“He [Steenbergen] had an unreal game I never thought I’d see those hands from him. Like I was telling one of the boys he almost over skated a puck because he hasn’t played a game this year so I was like ‘Woah he must be a little rusty’ and then he comes out with that dangle of a goal so that was nice to see,” said McCallum.
Steenbergen also picked up an assist on Mark Drohan’s second period power-play goal.
A Stifling Second
The Oil Barons dominated play in the second period out shooting Drayton Valley 18-6. The MOB’s fore-check was relentless through the second frame, and that’s when the tide began to turn starting of course with Steenbergen’s early goal.
“We just took it to ‘em on the fore-check I felt like we were moving our feet well and getting pucks to the net. Definitely quite a bit of guys in the room got some ice bags on ‘em so we’re a little beaten up so hopefully they are just as much because we’re trying to wear them out especially for the latter parts of the game tomorrow night.”
The game was tied for all of four minutes in the second period as Matt McNeil scored his sixth of the year for Drayton Valley.
Mark Drohan replied for his fourth of the year with just eight seconds left in the period on the power-play, another short side goal tucked under the crossbar
Power-Play Controls the Third
The Oil Barons didn’t carry their 2-1 lead for long in the third period Jordan McConnell scored his fourth of the year just 1:12 in a Thunder power-play as Steenbergen was in the box for boarding.
It wouldn’t take long for the MOB to answer however with two power-play goals within six minutes from Ben Sharf, his fourth and fifth goals of the season.
Fort McMurray went three for four on the man-advantage last night, they moved puck with ease. It looked like a completely different power-play.
Drayton Valley was one for two.
With the Oil Barons on the power-play in the dying moments of the game Landon Welykholowa tried to carry the puck into the slot, he was cross-checked from behind, multiple times. Tempers flared, and MOB fans were treated to their first line brawl of the season.
“It was nice to see our guys standing up for one another everybody got a guy and it was cool to see the crowd react well to it too, we had already won the game and we’re not willing to back down from them,” said McCallum.
The two clubs meet again tonight at the Casman Centre with an 8 p.m. puck drop. Tyler Dea served the first game of his two game suspension last night. He’ll be eligible to return on Friday, Nov. 6, against Spruce Grove.
Ravi Dattani stopped 26 of 28 shots faced while Garrett Mason turned aside 32 of 36 shots.
The Oil Barons are hosting a trick-or-treat night for tonight’s game, prizes for the best costumes and candy for the kids!
The Northstar Ford Lincoln Helping Those Short Handed pot totals sit at $675 for the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, and $225 for a lucky fan. Those funds will be released when the Oil Barons score a short-handed goal at home.
If you can’t make it to the rink tonight the game will be carried live on ROCK 97.9 with the pre-game show starting at 7:45 p.m.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.
Photographer: Dan Lines