The Fort McMurray Oil Barons met the Grande Prairie Storm Friday night for the first time since the opening weekend of the AJHL season. The North Division rivals traded goals and ramped up the physicality as the Oil Barons came away with their sixth straight win, topping the Storm 5-2.
“Specialty teams were key. I thought that our powerplay got us out of the gate real quick in the first period with two goals and then in the third period when you’re trying to shut them down, you’re relying on your penalty kill and for us to kill two five-on-threes against a potent team like Grande Prairie was a good sign,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the difference in the win.
The Oil Barons (31-6-3) took advantage of their two first period powerplays using a total of 40 seconds on the man advantage to get a pair of goals from Jack Hamly. The first was a quick passing play between Reed Morison and Nicholas Leeseberg to spot Hamly out front. His initial shot was stopped but he buried his own rebound to open the scoring 5:56 in.
Hamly would notch his second goal in similar fashion as again Charles-Olivier Levesque stopped the initial shot but not the rebound as the MOB took a 2-0 lead.
“Hamly I still contend has been our most consistent forward from the first game to the last game. You know what you’re going to get with Jack,” said Keca on Hamly who now has 15 goals on the season.
“He’s really tough to play against, he just does the little things that would drive the other team absolutely bonkers so he’s one of those players when we say he’s really tough to play against and you just hate to play against him and wish he was on your team and we’re really fortunate that he’s here.”
Hamly has put together a seven game point streak that has seen the 19 year old pick up five goals and three assists during the stretch.
The MOB would chase Levesque ten seconds later as Merritt Oszytko banked a shot off a skate from the corner that went straight up in the air and fell into the goal. Levesque allowed three goals on eight shots as the MOB led 3-0 after one period.
The Storm (19-19-3) got on the board 2:09 into the second period when Jared Power was the recipient of a cross ice pass from Tyrell Boucher and scored his first goal as a member of the Storm.
The Oil Barons would get that goal right back 2:30 later after some quick passing from Curtis Roach and Oszytko as they found a wide open Leeseberg who tapped in his 11th goal of the season. Leeseberg now has goals in three straight games.
Edouard Michaud would cut the MOB lead to 4-2 mid-way through the second period with a powerplay goal that beat a screened Eric Szudor.
Since returning to the MOB lineup after missing 20 games with an injury, defeceman Curtis Roach has racked up nine assists in five games but none have been as spectacular as his third of the night to give the MOB a 5-2 lead. Roach walked across the Storm blueline and slipped the puck through his legs and danced around the defender before slipping a pass back door to Will Conley who buried his 30th goal of the year.
“He’s such a creative player and he’s so intelligent and he has the skill set to match,” said Keca of Roach who has 18 points in 20 games this season. “He’s a fun player to watch and I think the fans would agree it’s been a pleasure to have him here now for two years and he’s a catalyst on the bench, on the ice, in the room so we’re excited that he’s recovered from his injury and his role will be huge going down the stretch.”
Conley continues his remarkable season as the 20 year has goals in three straight games and is riding a seven game point streak with six goals and three assists during that stretch.
“I think Will has probably been the biggest surprise for us. I really think he’s done an outstanding job as a leader. He stands up in the dressing room when it’s needed, he’s obviously an individual who wears his heart on his sleeve and he’s done a great job for us,” said Keca of Conley who sits second in the AJHL in goals.
The MOB will continue their homestand next week as they welcome the Brooks Bandits to town Friday night and the Camrose Kodiaks on Saturday.
MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 Post-Game Show.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photo by: Dan Lines, Fort McMurray Oil Barons