For the second game in a row the Fort McMurray Oil Barons found themselves trailing by two goals in the games opening minutes only this time the hole would be too big to dig out of.
The MOB fell 4-1 to the South Division leading Brooks Bandits Saturday night in the second game of a three game road trip. The Barons were able to erase the two goal deficit a night earlier in Calgary against the Mustangs but the Bandits proved to be to strong of an opponent on this night.
The MOB (24-9-1) had a quick start in the games opening minute with Will Conley busting down the wing and cutting into the middle only to be stopped by Mitchell Benson who kicked out his right pad.
From that save on, it was the Bandits (27-3-4) who controlled the pace of the game. Brooks was able to hem the Oil Barons in their own end on the next shift. The puck came to Dennis Cesana at the right point who feathered a shot through that beat a screened Eric Szudor 2:35 into the frame.
The MOB would again get caught running around in their own end moments later and allowed Ty Mappin to deflect an Oliver Chau shot past Szudor to open up a 2-0 lead 5:15 into the game.
The Bandits continued to pour on the pressure and extended their lead to 3-0 at 10:12 as Nick Prkusic ripped a shot into the back of the net on a powerplay.
Brooks showed why they are the reigning AJHL champs on this night, moving the puck with ease around the ice, opening up space and finding the seems in between the Oil Barons defence.
Szudor made several big stops in the game but his biggest was a breakaway save off Cale Makar in the second period. Makar returning to the Bandits lineup after captaining Canada West to a fifth place finish at the World Junior A Challenge picked up a loose puck in his own zone and raced down the ice. He faked to the backhand with Szudor sprawling out to make a huge save. One of 18 in the second period and 34 on the night.
Just under five minutes into the third period, Mappin would get his second goal of the game on a powerplay to give the Bandits a 4-0 lead. Mappin picked the top corner on Szudor short side for his 14th goal of the year.
The MOB would break Benson’s shutout bid at 6:15 of the third when Hayden Ursulak’s wrister beat Benson under the blocker arm for his sixth goal of the season and first in nine games. Brett Edwards and Taner Miller drew the assists on the goal.
The Oil Barons will finish their southern road trip Sunday afternoon in Calgary against the Canucks. Pre-game show at 2:15p.m. on Country 93.3 with Taylor Pope.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photographer: Dan Lines
Highlights courtesy of Tyler King, Brooks Bandits.