The Oil Barons kept with the back-to-back defending champions through just about thirty minutes of hockey in the season opener. The first of two power-play goals on the night for the Saints by Colton Leiter at the 10:20 mark of the second period gave Spruce Grove a lead they’d not relinquish on their way to a 3-0 win.
Two more goals in the third period from Brandon Biro at 9:02, and a Connor James power-play marker sent the 1,562 MOB fans that packed the Casman Centre home disappointed.
“We all know that hockey is a game of skating and creating chances and I just think that we got caught watching a lot tonight, got caught flat footed. I don’t think there was one instance where we had maybe three or four shots on net,” said Oil Barons Head Coach Tom Keca on the post-game show on ROCK 97.9.
Keca won’t have to worry about his goaltenders this season, Ravi Dattani was excellent on the night turning aside 29 of 32 shots he faced, including a number of partial breakaways and high-percentage scoring chances.
The Saints elected to start their young 17-year-old goaltender in Matthew Murray. The St.Albert native pushed away 25 shots for the shutout.
“We didn’t force them to make any tough second or third saves and they kept coming at us in waves. There were times where I thought we defended well and we kept them to the outside which is something that we actually struggled with in the pre-season,” said Keca.
The Oil Barons failed to convert on all four of their power-play opportunities while the Saints scored two goals on six chances with the man advantage.
The MOB had a great opportunity to take the lead late in the first period with an extended 5-3 but they barely made a mess in Murray’s kitchen.
“The one thing that we told them in the room afterwards is that we had them at 1-0 with about 12-13 minutes left and had we had a little bit of a push it would’ve been better but I think we only had one scoring chance in the third period,” said Keca.
Keca’s game-plan to forecheck ferociously paid off on a number of occasions, but well composed Saints team was always able to recover and adjust quickly. It was a speedy game with two fast skating teams.
The rematch promises to be just as entertaining.
Puck drop is at 8 p.m. tonight at the Casman Centre, if you can’t make it to the rink you can listen to the game live on ROCK 97.9.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com