Powerplays the difference in Game 3 as Wolverines grab series lead

Nine straight powerplays the Whitecourt Wolverines received in Game 3 beginning at the end of the second period and carrying right through the third period as they beat the Fort McMurray Oil Barons 5-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

“It’s tough for me to comment right now because after the second period it was 2-2, the shots were 23-12 for us. So we limited them to 12 shots on net in two periods and they had six powerplays,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca. “You have two teams and you hope you would allow the teams to settle the outcome of the game and that’s not what happened.”

Jaedon Leslie broke the 2-2 tie 3:49 into the third period when he converted a Yannick Bertrand feed for his second goal of the game. Ben Evanish and Jude Butler would then get powerplay goals to put the game out of reach as the Wolverines had back to back five-on-three powerplays.

“You have to have a short memory and put this one behind us but I can’t comment on the third period when you play it entirely shorthanded but I thought for the first two periods we were really good,” said Keca.

The Barons were indeed very good in this game when they were allowed to play 5-on-5. The Barons took the opening minutes to the Wolverines before a defensive zone lapse saw Chase Haygarth open the scoring 4:22 into the game on the Wolverines first shot on goal.

The MOB responded well scoring just over a minute later and then taking a 2-1 lead two minutes after their first goal. Will Conley snapped his three game goalless drought when he potted a loose puck in front of the goal. It was then Nicholas Leeseberg who would do the same, scoring his first goal of the playoffs and snapping a 13 game goalless drought of his own.

The Wolverines tied the game at 14;32 on a powerplay goal from Leslie from the right face-off when he beat Chris Curr under his arm.

The Barons penalty kill had only allowed one goal in these playoffs in 23 opportunities heading into game 3. They killed off ten powerplays in the game and held the Wolverines to just 23 shots in total which was something Keca was very proud of after the game.

“We’ve got guys that are willing to block shots and get in lanes and we’re doing a good job clearing pucks,” said Keca of his penalty killers who would finish the game with more than a few bruises from the amount of rubber they blocked.

The Barons out shot the Wolverines 31-23 in the game and Wolverines goalie Xavier Potvin made several key saves to keep his team in the game in the first two periods.

In the third period, Merritt Oszytko was given a game misconduct from the bench after the Wolverines fourth goal. Peter Tomaras then received a five minute major for charging and a game misconduct for a hit he threw in the corner on Spencer Bast. With 41 seconds left in the game, the Wolverines Yannick Bertrand received a five minute major for high sticking and game misconduct after getting his stick up in the face of Jarred White.

The Oil Barons will look to forget this game quickly as they look to tie up the series Tuesday night in Game 4. You can listen to the game on Country 93.3 beginning with the pre-game show at 7:15 p.m. with Taylor Pope.

Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com

Photo by: Dan Lines