FORT MCMURRAY, AB (October 23, 2013) — Hayden Dawes (Stony Plain, AB) scored the game-winner just 56 seconds in, and Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) pitched a 36-save shutout, as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (17-0-1) downed the Grande Prairie Storm 4-0 on Wednesday night in front of 1,542 fans at the Casman Centre.
With the win, the Barons tied the 1993-94 Olds Grizzlys for the second-longest unbeaten streak to open a season in AJHL history; just two games back of the record set by last year's Brooks Bandits.
The game was delayed by 45 minutes due to a bus breakdown by Grande Prairie; but despite the delay, the Barons got off to a hot start, when Colten Meaver (Edmonton, AB) fed a perfect cross-crease pass to Dawes for a one-time goal less than a minute in.
It was Dawes' first game in more than a week, having been scratched the previous two games.
Just over halfway through the first, following a hit by rookie MOB defenceman Taylor Lileikis (Calgary, AB) on Storm forward Stephen Doane, it was Doane jumping MOB forward Kevin Miller (Stony Plain, AB) after a post-whistle scrum at the McMurray net, in a tilt that Miller quickly took control of and won handily.
In the second, Mitch Byrne (Onaping, ON) took advantage of a Storm turnover in the defensive zone, firing a shot from the right circle that was blocked, but recovering the puck at the left hashmarks and beating goalie Nick Kulmanovsky short side to double the McMurray lead.
Byrne would later leave the game in the third period after taking a shoulder to the head from Storm defenceman Sasha Larocque that was not penalized.
Despite a 12-8 shot advantage for the Storm in the third, Jaillet kept the team in it, including a spectacular save on a one-timer from Sam Lawson that the MOB goalie sprawled from post to post to deflect wide with his blocker.
With exactly a minute to go, a clearance by Austin Yadlowski (Edmonton, AB) was knocked out of mid-air by Ryan Bloom (Calgary, AB), and slid the length of the ice into an empty Grande Prairie net for a 3-0 lead.
Despite the massive deficit, the Storm pulled the goalie again; and ended up turning the puck over to Brennan Saulnier at their own blue line. The MOB forward fired the puck in for a second empty netter with half a second left in the game.
The 36-save performance was Jaillet's third shutout of the young season, and he was named player of the game at the rink.
The team now heads on a vital three-game road trip, taking on some of the best teams in the South division. It starts Friday night at 7:00 PM when the Barons take on the Brooks Bandits. Pre-game coverage starts at 6:45 on Country 93.3.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
1. Tanner Jaillet (36 save shutout)
2. Mitch Byrne (1 goal)
3. Hayden Dawes (1 goal)