The Spruce Grove Saints are one heckuva hockey team, full credit to Jason McKee & Co. they’ve brought in some real high end talent that plays the game with pace, brains, skill, and some wonderful puck movement. All of that dizzying skill was on display as they picked apart the Oil Barons in a 4-0 win, including a 51-17 advantage on the shot-clock.
The score may not have been indicative of the level of play, while the game was as tight as 2-0 after two periods this one was never in doubt for Spruce Grove, the Oil Barons can simply thank their lucky Ravi Dattani’s that it wasn’t a complete blow-out.
“If Hockey Canada had video that they wanted to cut about puck possession and movement and exchanging lanes this would’ve been a perfect one,” said Oil Barons Head Coach and General Manager Tom Keca on the ROCK 97.9 post-game show. “They’ve got so much skill and that’s almost what you strive to play, they move the puck, they move their feet and they think the game at such a high pace where we can’t. We move the puck and we have to stop and think and let guys set up and you just can’t do that.”
The Saints goals came from Trey Fix-Wolansky, Riley Simpson, Brandon Biro, and Nicolas Correale.
Saints goaltender Brett Zarowny made 17 saves to pitch a shutout, the second time the Saints have shutout the MOB this season.
The Second Period
Spruce Grove only scored one goal in the second frame, it easily could’ve been three as the Saints outshot the MOB 18-3 in the middle period.
A nearly three minute segment of continuous offensive zone pressure that saw the Oil Barons unable to even clear the centre ice-line led to Riley Simpson’s marker at 11:41. It came off a shot blocked in front that landed on Ian Mitchell’s stick on the half-wall, he was able to walk to the hash-marks untouched before sliding the puck over to Simpson who was left all alone to Dattani’s left for an easy tap-in goal.
“They pressure you not only in the d-zone, in the neutral zone, in the offensive zone but they’re constantly coming at you, we had a lot of problems moving pucks today I thought. It almost seemed like we played the whole second period short-handed because we were in our zone.”
It was a special display of passing, and whizzing and skating, the Saints were first to every loose puck, incredible to watch, but some of the younger Oil Barons did show some push back after the second goal.
“After the onslaught there in the second period there was a stretch there late in the of about four minutes where we actually had puck possession, we moved our feet and the message to the guys was that if we want to move our feet we can play with them,” said Keca.
Neither team was able to score on the power-play until Mark Drohan took an undisciplined roughing minor at 16:18 of the third period. To that point the MOB had killed three Saints power-play’s. Drohan’s penalty led to Biro’s goal, you can only play with fire for so long…
The Oil Barons were held scoreless on five power-play opportunities including a 1:30 five-on-three man-advantage that saw Brett Edwards hit the cross-bar midway through the third period.
Positives and Negatives
For Tom Keca it was another disappointing night from his group of veterans.
“They just get awestruck, if we’re going to move forward here we just need more bite from guys, if you look at the guys that generated the offense in the second period it was the Fraser line and the Weber line those are the guys that had cycles but we didn’t get much from the other two lines.”
Lindsey MacLellan was great again tonight, whenever he’s in the line-up he makes good things happen. He had two of the MOB’s best scoring chances of the night. The lines of McCallum, Fraser, McKinstry, and Weber, MacLellan, Rauh were the only ones to generate any sustained offense five-on-five.
Ravi Dattani had another spectacular outing, it’s becoming routine for the 20-year-old netminder, he stopped 47 of 51 shots faced.
The Oil Barons have a short turnaround between games, final whistle came around the 9 p.m. mark last night, 17-hours and 15-minutes later they’ll be on the ice taking on Sherwood Park at 2:15 p.m. in the final of two games on this road trip.
Sherwood Park has beaten Fort McMurray in both games this season, an 8-3 win on Sep. 18, in Sherwood Park followed by a 3-2 nail biter at the Casman Centre Wednesday.
Pre-game show starts at 2 p.m., you can listen live on ROCK 97.9
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.