Chris Van Os-Shaw skated down the left wing and let go a howitzer that ripped past the glove hand of Eric Szudor 21 seconds into overtime as the Spruce Grove Saints handed the Fort McMurray Oil Barons their second straight loss, winning 2-1 Friday night at the Casman Centre.
The MOB (5-1-1) held a 1-0 lead late in the third period but a costly turnover at their own blueline resulted in Josh Harris tying the game for the Saints (6-2-1) when he beat Szudor with 2:42 left.
“Disappointed with our third period to be quite frank,” said MOB head coach Tom Keca. “There was a stretch there where we had an opportunity about five or six times to put the game away and we couldn’t hit the hit.”
The Barons appeared to open the scoring late in the first period when they turned up ice on a four on one rush. Ryan Cox would feed Curtis Roach who beat Saints goalie Nolan Kent for what appeared to be his first goal of the season. After the Saints protested the goal saying it went off of Roach’s skate, a brief meeting led to the goal being disallowed.
The Barons didn’t allow the disallowed goal to discourage them as they continued to press and hem the Saints deep in the second period. Taner Miller found Roach on the far side who spotted Reed Morison streaking towards the goal. Morison received the pass and roofed a shot up under the crossbar for his 4th goal of the year.
“It was a great play by Roach, a veteran guy with lots of patience. Sucks over the guys to the strong side and he spots Reed on a back door,” said Keca on the goal. “If you give Reed those opportunities he’s going to bury them.”
The Barons looked to double up their lead at the 14:00 mark when Kent lost the puck in his skates behind the Saints goal. Jackson Verstraete pounced on the puck, throwing it out front to Nicholas Leeseberg who buried it into the empty net. However, Verstraete was called for goaltender interference on the play, disallowing another Barons goal.
The Saints had several chances to tie the game in the third period but were foiled by Szudor. Van Os-Shaw and then Dylan Bourlai were robbed in tight as it wasn’t until a defensive zone turnover cost the MOB.
“It’s easy to look at the mistake we made on the tying goal but you also have to hold your other players accountable, when we have opportunities to bury pucks, you have to bury them. Hopefully it’s a learning lesson,” said Keca.
In overtime, the Oil Barons nearly ended the game seven seconds in. Shane Fraser won the face-off to Will Conley before taking off down the ice. Conley fed Fraser who was stopped by Kent in tight.
Van Os-Shaw’s goal was his league leading 12th of the year. The Regina native has scored in eight straight games for the Saints.
The MOB and Saints will battle once again Saturday night at the Casman Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Oil Barons had a pair of players making their season debuts. Connor Lyons was picked up after starting the year with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes. The 18 year old played one game for the Hurricanes this season and suited up in ten last year. Lyons had 22 points in 28 games for the Lethbridge Hurricanes Midget AAA team a year ago.
“He’s a playmaker, he’s really good in tight with the puck so for us it was a matter of addressing the fact when we look at our 1999 born forwards, we felt that we needed more depth there,” said Keca of adding Lyons to the roster. “Tyler Alger is still on the shelf with an injury, not sure when he’s coming back and Jarred White is out for a prolonged period here so it was an opportunity for us to bring someone in and give him a look and he’s looked good so far.”
Defenceman Noah Kallichuk also played his first game of the year after missing the first six games with a foot injury.
AUDIO: Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 Post-Game Show.