The Fort McMurray Oil Barons have found themselves in another funk. After rattling off a seven game winning streak, the MOB now find themselves losers of three straight after a 5-1 loss to the Spruce Grove Saints Monday afternoon.
What might be most surprising about the three losses is that they all came at home at the Casman Centre. A place where the Oil Barons have been very good all season long sporting a 20-6-2 home record. One of just four teams in the AJHL with at least 20 wins on home ice.
The loss to the Saints puts the MOB seven points back of first place in the North Division but with five games remaining for both teams, it is not unreachable but will be a tough hill to climb and the MOB will need some help from Spruce Grove’s opponents if they are to catch the Saints for top spot in the division.
Monday’s game had a playoff type feel in the first period with both teams throwing their weight around and there was a buzz in the arena as the 1,435 fans were treated to a fast paced opening frame.
MOB goalie Chris Curr was tested early and often and kept the MOB in the game making 15 saves in the first 20 minutes. The only shot that beat him was on a rebound when Parker Saretsky knocked in a powerplay goal at 7:19 to give the Saints a 1-0 lead.
The Saints took a 2-0 lead when Chris Van Os-Shaw squeaked a shot through Curr after a defensive zone turnover left the puck on the league’s leading scorers stick at 8:27. The MOB would get that goal back a few minutes later when Jarred White ran over Jarrod Gourley in centre ice and got the puck to Domenico Argento. The MOB defenceman waited for Liam Izyk to catch up to the play before feeding him cross ice. Izyk snapped a shot past Nolan Kent for his 8th of the year to cut the lead in half.
The two teams would start the third period four on four and as the Saints penalty expired to give them a powerplay, the MOB were never able to get set on the penalty kill allowing Josh Harris to find some room in the high slot and beat Curr 57 seconds into the period to put the Saints up 3-1.
Van Os-Shaw and Austin Parmiter would get two late goals 16 seconds apart to put the game out of reach as the Saints beat the MOB for a fifth time this season.
The Barons will head out on the road for a final time in the regular season this week as they take on Grande Prairie Thursday and Whitecourt Friday and Saturday. You can catch all the action on Country 93.3 with Taylor Pope.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines