FORT McMURRAY, AB (March 5, 2015) – Stephen Shmoorkoff scored the winner in the third period, and Zac Klassen stopped 25 shots as the Sherwood Park Crusaders beat the Fort McMurray Oil Barons 3-2 in Game 1 of their first round series.
The teams played to a scoreless draw in the first, which saw both goalies make big saves at each end of the ice. The Oil Barons were outshot 12-6 in the opening frame, having had to kill off two Crusader power plays.
In the second, the Crusaders struck first, when Dane Phaneuf blasted one through a screen off of a faceoff just past the halfway mark for the 1-0 lead.
52 seconds later, the Barons responded when Brett McNeil (Halifax, NS) jammed home a rebound of a Jetlan Houcher (Paradise Valley, AB) shot that Crusader goalie Zac Klassen had barely gotten a piece of with his left skate, making it a 1-1 game.
That score would remain until the final minute of the period, when another Phaneuf point shot was tipped home by Tyler Maltby at the side of the McMurray net, beating goalie Zach Fortin (St. Jerome, PQ) and giving Sherwood Park a 2-1 lead after 40.
In the third, the Barons tied things up again just past the six-minute mark, when Houcher dangled his way into the slot and caused a scramble in front of the net; Adam Durkee (Nederland, CO) shot a loose puck from the left-wing faceoff circle past a sprawled Klassen for a 2-2 tie.
But after denying the Barons on a shorthanded rush three minutes later, the Crusaders came back down the ice and beat Fortin on Shmoorkoff's screened power play point shot, to give the Cru a 3-2 lead they wouldn't give up.
Klassen's 25 stops were good for the win while Fortin made 28 saves in a losing effort.
Up next, these two teams are back at it tomorrow night in Game 2 of this best-of-5 first round series.
Tickets are available at the Casman Centre box office, online at tickets.oilbarons.com, or by phone at 780 743 5509. Pre-game coverage starts at 7:45 PM on the radio home of the Oil Barons, KAOS 91.1.
KAOS 91.1 3 Stars:
3. Zac Klassen (24sv/26sh)
2. Brett McNeil (1G)
1. Dane Phaneuf (1G/1A)