FORT MCMURRAY, AB (November 29, 2013) — Barons captain Jetlan Houcher (Paradise Valley, AB) had three points, while goaltender Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) saved 37 of 38 shots and forward Luc Lalor (St. Albert, AB) notched an assist in his return from injury, as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons dispatched the Grande Prairie Storm 6-1 on Friday night at the Casman Centre.
The game was a closely fought affair in the early stages, with the only goal of the first being rookie Danton Ayotte's (Wetaskiwin, AB) twelve goal of his debut campaign. On an early MOB power play at the 3:40 mark of the first, Brennan Saulnier corraled a rebound in the Grande Prairie slot, and rather than shooting, fed a no-look pass to Ayotte at the bottom of the right-wing circle, whose quick wrister beat goalie Nick Kulmanovsky for the game's opening goal.
In the second, the Barons opened the scoring 2:08 in when Houcher took a perfect no-look backhand centering pass from Luc Lalor from the side of the net; his first shot was stopped, but he corraled the rebound and tucked it in short-side past Kulmanovsky for the eventual game-winning goal.
Just past the halfway mark of the game, shortly after a fantastic Grande Prairie chance was stopped by Jaillet, Kaiden Tobin (Stony Plain, AB) carried the puck the other way and fired a long wrist shot over the glove hand of Kulmanovsky for a surprising third goal to make it 3-0.
The Storm responded a few minutes later when Jade McMullen capped off an impressive night by being the only Storm player to beat Jaillet on the evening.
In the third, however, the Barons extended the two goal margin to five. First, Hayden Dawes corraled a loose puck in the slot after three defenders barely managed to dislodge it from Houcher; Dawes' finishing shot rang the crossbar and fell into the Storm net to make it 4-1.
Second, it was Dawes playing keep away inside the Storm blue line, evading two defenders before passing left-wing to new MOB defenceman Curtis Lewington (Calgary, AB), who blasted a slap shot past Kulmanovsky for his first goal as a Baron and a 5-1 lead.
Finally, with just over three minutes left, Mitch Vanderlaan (Hanwell, NB) capped off the scoring with a second-chance shot from the left circle after his first wrister was blocked, that found the back of the cage for the 6-1 final.
The Barons outshot Grande Prairie 42-38 on the night; the margin narrower thanks in no small part to several extra power play chances afforded to the Storm. GP went 1 for 7 on the man advantage while the Barons went 1 for 5.
The two teams meet in the rematch tomorrow night at 8 PM at the Casman Centre.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
1. Hayden Dawes (1 goal, 1 assist)
2. Jetlan Houcher (1 goal, 2 assists)
3. Kevin Miller (2 assists)