The Spruce Grove Saints continue to be the Fort McMurray Oil Barons kryptonite this season as the Saints topped the Barons for a third time, hammering the MOB 7-2.
The Barons (18-4-1) remain two points up on the Saints (17-5-1) for first place in the North Division but two losses against their North Division rivals in the last two weeks has allowed the Saints to gain considerable ground on the MOB.
The Barons trailed 3-2 heading into the third period and were very much in the game but the Saints found another gear and tacked on four unanswered goals to cruise to their fourth straight win.
“We made it too easy for them, I thought that we gave away too many pucks and we really didn’t force them to work extremely hard,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca. “The difference right now is they’re a team when they get up 3-2 going into the third period, they can put a team away where we let teams hang around.”
The MOB jumped on the Saints early in the first period when Shane Fraser buried his 5th goal of the season off a pass from Owen Reith 4:53 into the game. The lead however was short lived as the Saints responded two minutes later when Cam Mitchell scored a pair of goals in a 22 second span to give the Saints a 2-1 lead.
Despite two wins against the MOB this season, the Saints had only held a lead against the MOB for 1.7 seconds. Thursday night would be a different story as the Saints took the lead early and never looked back.
Chris Van Os-Shaw added a late goal, scoring his 21st of the year with eight seconds left in the period when he was left alone in front of the Oil Barons net and deflected in a pass from the side wall.
The MOB would get within one in the second when Nicholas Leeseberg chipped in a Jackson Verstraete rebound for his 6th goal of the year but that was as close as the Barons would get.
Graeme Bryks, Tanner Hickey, Austin Parmiter and Liam Freeborn added goals in the third period for the Saints as they chased Eric Szudor out of the MOB goal. Szudor made 34 saves in the loss and was a lone bright spot in an otherwise tough night at the rink for the first place Barons.
“I like the second period I thought there was a lot of push back, I thought that we showed that if we’re willing to take the game to the trenches that we can be successful but if you’re going to get into a track meet with a team like Spruce Grove you’re going to be in trouble and in the third period we got away from playing the body and tried to free wheel and the result is a 7-2 loss,” said Keca.
The MOB were dealt another blow when forward Liam Izyk got tangled up with a Saints player in the corner and fell to the ice. Izyk needed to be helped off the ice and did not return. The status of his injury was unknown after the game.
The Oil Barons will continue their three game road trip Friday night in Lloydminster against the Bobcats before wrapping up Saturday in Bonnyville. You can catch both games on Country 93.3 beginning with the Pre-Game Show at 7:15 p.m. with Taylor Pope.
“Throughout a 60 game schedule there’s a lot of different scenarios that you run into as a coach and you want your players to experience it so getting your butt handed to you, I’d like to see our character tomorrow (Friday) and who’s going to show up,” said Keca.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photo by: Dan Lines, Fort McMurray Oil Barons