The Fort McMurray Oil Barons held the lead for a good chunk of Friday night’s game but it was the Spruce Grove Saints who came away with the 3-2 victory.
The Saints (9-3-0) got two goals in a 2:31 span in the third period to take the only lead they needed of the night as they handed the MOB (5-4-1) their third loss in their last four games.
“For 40 minutes I thought that we were pretty good…but we just stood around in the third period,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on his teams performance. “By our count we gave up three quality scoring chances in the first two periods, we gave up nine in the third period alone.”
Cam Mitchell was allowed to skate right in towards the MOB goal from the left wing and slipped the puck to his backend to beat Chris Curr to tie the game 10:23 into the third period.
Alex Dalton would then give the Saints their only lead of the game at 12:54 when he picked up a shot off the end boards and fired it into the top corner.
“When you’ve got guys that want to sit there and watch, it’s very difficult to play that way and I’m very disappointed that it was a lot of 20 year olds,” said Keca. “This is another blueprint of why in the Alberta Junior Hockey League that if you’re not prepared to play for a full 60 minutes then you’re not going to be successful.”
The MOB got off to a great start in the first period. Nolen Coventry out muscled his man in centre ice and broke down the left wing. He spotted Taner Miller coming in late as the trailer and fed him the puck. Miller ripped a shot past Liam McCloskey to give the MOB the 1-0 lead 2:16 into the game.
“He’s very powerful down low and he can shield the puck and protect it well and he’s really got some soft hands and he’s intelligent where he can make plays,” said Keca of Coventry who now has four assists in his last two games. Chad MacLean also drew an assist on the play to give him a three game point streak.
The Saints tied the game 5:46 into the second period when a bad line change by the MOB gave the Saints a two-on-one. Dylan Bourlai snapped a shot short side on Curr tying the game 1-1.
The Barons responded quickly as less than three minutes later, Liam Izyk buried a Saints turnover in the slot to put the MOB up 2-1. The goal was Izyk’s second of the season.
The MOB held the lead after two periods but it was all Spruce Grove in the third as they outshot the MOB 17-6 in the frame and 41-21 overall. McCloskey made two huge saves late in the Saints goal, robbing Reed Morison and Ryan Conroy on a MOB powerplay.
The Barons will look to rebound Saturday night when they continue their road trip in Drayton Valley. Pre-Game Show at 7:15 p.m. on Country 93.3 with Taylor Pope.
Konrad Belcourt made his MOB debut. The 18 year defenceman started the year in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders. The Sherwood Park native has 87 games of WHL experience playing with the Raiders and Kelowna Rockets.
Oil Barons defenceman Sean McCloskey played against his brother Liam for the first time in their hockey careers. The brothers from Pitt Meadows, British Columbia are two years apart, Liam 20 and Sean 18.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines