The struggles continue for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons as the MOB dropped their fourth straight game with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Grande Prairie Storm Thursday night.
The MOB (39-12-5) put forth their best effort during this four game slide, hitting a post in overtime and being shut down by Storm (26-26-3) goalie Ethan Slobodzian who made 39 saves including a huge glove save off Shane Fraser on a three-on-one.
“We created a lot of chances, we had multiple odd man rushes and their goalie played really well,” said MOB Assistant Coach Dave Dupas. “That’s a couple games now out of the last three where we’ve been beaten by a goaltender and that’s gong to happen sometimes especially when you’re struggling as a team to get some wins.”
The MOB outshot the Storm 41-20 in the game but in the shootout it was Justin Bernier and Dallas Comeau beating Eric Szudor while Will Conley and Reed Morison were stopped by Slobodzian.
“They have some good players and especially in the shootout you’re in trouble against that team because they have some talented guys that can put the puck in the net so we didn’t want it to get to that point but it did and now we have to lick our wounds and get on to Friday,” said Dupas.
An unfortunate bounce for the MOB in the second period opened the scoring for the Storm when Jared Power sent a shot from the point that Szudor tried to kick into the corner. The puck hit Zachary Okabe in the chest and bounced into the goal for the rookie of the year finalists 20th.
The Barons responded quickly when Curtis Roach skated across the Storm blue line and fired a shot into the top left corner for his 8th to tie the game 1-1.
In the third period the teams would trade powerplay goals as JC Thivierge gave the Barons the lead 5:15 in when he was allowed to walk in and beat Slobodzian on the blocker side for his 10th of the year.
Jared Power tied the game 2-2 with a Storm powerplay winding down, Power wired a shot from the face-off circle over the shoulder of Szudor and in.
The teams traded chances late and throughout the overtime with each goaltender coming up with timely saves but it would be in the shootout where the Storm prevailed, beating the Barons for the first time this season in the six meetings.
The MOB will now open up a four game set to end the regular season against the Whitecourt Wolverines. The Barons are in Whitecourt Friday and Saturday before the Wolverines travel to Fort McMurray next weekend for a pair of games.
“You have to beat these guys and prove that you can beat them. We don’t want to go into a series here and wait for the playoffs to come up and then lose four games against these guys cause then they have all the confidence going into that round so we have to play hard, we have to make a point against these guys and we have to let them know that if they’re going to face us in the payoffs it’s going to be a tough series,” said Dupas about facing the Wolverines four straight games to end the year.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photo by: Dan Lines, Fort McMurray Oil Barons