FORT MCMURRAY, AB (November 23, 2012) — Kevin Lacroix (St. Albert, AB) scored twice in the third period and Matt Purmal (Merrill, WI) scored his first goal as an Oil Baron, but a late three-goal comeback by the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (12-12-3) wasn't enough as they fell 5-4 to the Sherwood Park Crusaders in overtime on Friday night at the Casman Centre.
The MOB took an early 1-0 lead when Mike Marianchuk (Innisfail, AB), in his first game back from a shoulder injury, scored on a wrist shot from the right-wing face-off circle, beating Sherwood Park netminder Matt Tomkins at the 5:54 mark.
The Crusaders didn't take long to respond, however, as a stretch pass from Ben Carroll found sniper Danny Smith behind the MOB defence. He converted on a breakaway backhander to tie the game 9:53 into the opening frame.
The Barons would then squander a golden opportunity when Blair Mulder was ejected for a major boarding penalty on MOB forward Doug Jones. With 3:14 of power-play time, as the penalty was taken on the man advantage, the Barons mustered only one shot on goal.
Smith's tally would be the first of four consecutive Sherwood Park goals as the visitors dominated the second period. First, Smith found Bowen Croft on a centring pass from behind the net that #20 of the Crusaders one-timed from point blank range into the roof of the net to give the Cru its first lead, 5:37 into the second.
Then while shorthanded, Crusader captain Eric Liknes sped past two McMurray defenders and converted on a breakaway shot, going five-hole on Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) to double the lead at 11:12 of the middle stanza.
The second period scoring was capped off at 14:34 when Sean MacTavish picked off an outlet pass from a Barons defenceman, and fired a cross-ice pass to a wide-open Andrew Taverner, who one-timed it past Jaillet for a 4-1 lead.
However, just as the second belonged to Sherwood Park, so too did the third belong to the MOB.
Only 43 seconds into the frame, Lacroix scored his first on a wrist shot from the right-wing circle, almost identically to Marianchuk's opener.
Just over halfway through, Matt Purmal stepped off the bench and found a loose puck just inside the Sherwood Park blueline, blasting a slapshot past Tomkins for his first goal as a Baron and bringing the team within 1.
Lacroix then used his breakout speed at the 14:47 mark, when while shorthanded he raced down the right wing against two Crusader defenders, had the puck poked free, but found it nonetheless at the side of the net and jammed it past Tomkins to tie the game and send the Casman Centre crowd into an eruption.
But it was the Crusaders with the last laugh, as Bowen Croft started the game-winning play rushing behind the MOB net and centring the puck to a wide-open Marshall Donald, who one timed the puck backdoor on Jaillet to give the Crusaders the extra point.
In total, Jaillet saved 37 of 42 shots, while Tomkins stopped 25 of 29. Both teams' powerplays were fruitless, with the MOB going 0 for 3 and the Crusaders 0 for 4.
The teams collide again tomorrow night at the Casman for the annual Teddy Bear Toss night, with puck drop at 8:00.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
3. Matt Purmal (1 goal, 2 assists)
2. Danny Smith (1 goal, 1 assist)
1. Kevin Lacroix (2 goals)