After a thrilling overtime finish in Game 1 of their North Division semi-final, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and Whitecourt Wolverines would head to overtime for a second straight night in Game 2 but this time it would be the Wolverines who struck to tie up the series 1-1 with a 4-3 win Saturday night.
Yannick Bertrand raced down the left wing and beat Chris Curr on the glove side 6:11 into the extra frame sending the Wolverines home with a series split after the opening two games at the Casman Centre.
The Wolverines held a 2-0 lead after two periods with a pair of goals from Hayden Clayton. The first with just 19 seconds left in the first period and the second came late in the second period. The Wolverines outshot the Barons 18-13 through two periods as the MOB weren’t able to muster much opportunities.
“You can’t play 20 minutes of a game and expect to win and that’s what we did,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca. “We were horrible the first 40 minutes, there was no life, no energy, we didn’t win any races and we were late to every forecheck.”
Everything changed for the MOB in a wild third period that set the scene for a second straight overtime.
Trailing 2-0, the MOB scored two goals in 15 seconds to tie the game. The first from Jarred White 4:06 into the period when his shot was stopped by Xavier Potvin. White stuck with the puck and threw it in front when Potvin swatted it off his own player and into the net.
The Barons kept coming on the next shift and Liam Izyk found some space for himself down low and walked out from the left corner. His shot was stopped but the rebound popped right to Reed Morison who made no mistake. Morison has goals in three straight games now for the MOB as he tied the game 2-2.
“We told our players in the second intermission that we guarantee if we just threw pucks to the net and we got there, there were going to be rebounds and second and third opportunities and we also said if we score the first one, the second one is going to come right away,” said Keca of his team’s two quick goals to tie the game.
With the building erupting, the Wolverines were able to quiet the crowd 45 seconds after the Barons had tied the game. Whitecourt went down the ice on a two-on-one with Stevie Bryant feeding Ben Evanish who beat Curr on the far side to give the Wolverines back the lead.
The Barons kept coming and in the final minute with Curr on the bench, Morison whacked in a loose puck in front to tie the game. Jordan Roy started the play and circled up to the blueline, his shot was tipped in the slot by Izyk and sat in front for Morison to hammer home.
“There comes times throughout the season where you have to create your own excitement and create your own bounces cause bounces don’t just happen out of thin air,” said Keca. “Whitecourt accomplished what they wanted, they wanted a split and they got it. Now it’s up to us, we have to win one game in their building.”
Game 3 and 4 of the series will be Monday and Tuesday night at the Scott Safety Centre in Whitecourt. You can catch all the action live on Country 93.3 beginning with the pre-game show at 7:15 p.m. with Taylor Pope.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photo by: Dan Lines