The saying goes that eventually the damn will break, all it takes is persistent effort. Unfortunately as it’s been this season for the Oil Barons the damn held and fired back.
Fort McMurray outshot Grande Prairie by a 15-8 margin in the first period, dominating play.
“We stressed being mentally and physically ready for the start of the game and I thought that we did that,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca. “At one time the shots were 13-1 in our favour and I thought that we did a good job, we were just throwing pucks at the net and we did a good job defending.”
A Grant Morford slashing minor led to a Grande Prairie power-play midway through the first period, the Storm have incredibly scored on 32.43 per cent of power-play chances at home this season. Zablocki opened the scoring at the 12:30 mark of the first frame, the Storm would add another goal on the man-advantage in the second period from Frank Sullivan going two-for-six on the night.
As for the Oil Barons they were blanked on their five power-play opportunities for the second straight night.
“One thing that we’re definitely going to have to work on is our power-play, not only do you not score I thought that sometimes it zapped a little bit of our momentum so that’s something that we’ll address as a staff,” said Keca. “We’ve got some new personnel and we’ll have to try some new things and we’ll have to change things because obviously what we’re doing right now isn’t working.”
Grande Prairie would jump out to a 3-0 lead on Sullivan’s man-advantage goal at the 15:52 mark of the second frame on a 5-3 power-play. Zablocki earned his second of the night just 61 seconds into the middle stanza.
Dylan Rauh tried to spark a comeback midway through the third frame with his third goal of the year, although it was too little too late for the MOB. Dallas Comeau sealed the game with an empty net goal with just 20 seconds to play.
“We had a couple of posts, we hit a cross bar and we just missed a couple of open nets, obviously disappointed with the outcome but thought all-in-all it was a better team effort than last night.”
Fort McMurray outshot Grande Prairie 34-24, Ravi Dattani was between the pipes again for the MOB stopping 19 of 23 shots while Tate Sproxton was excellent making 33 of 34 saves.
The Oil Barons will have two days to re-load ahead of their season finale against the Spruce Grove Saints at the Casman Centre on Saturday night.
“It’s an opportunity for us to show ourselves that we can play with those guys we’ve played them tough the majority of the year and I’m hoping maybe we can get lucky with a good solid effort and get some points finally to show our players that we can play with the upper teams in our league,” said Keca.
In his pre-game interview Keca also noted that 20-year-old defenceman Taylor Lileikis, acquired from Whitecourt on Dec. 1, for Josh Bishop and Future Considerations has decided to retire from hockey and will not report.
The MOB are 0-5 against the top team in the AJHL and back-to-back defending Gas Drive Cup Champions.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.
Photo taken on December 4, 2015 in Fort McMurray by Dan Lines.