SHERWOOD PARK, AB (January 16, 2015) — Jetlan Houcher (Paradise Valley, AB) opened the scoring with his league-leading 33rd goal of the year, but the Sherwood Park Crusaders responded with two consecutive goals to down the Fort McMurray Oil Barons 2-1 in Sherwood Park on Friday night.
With the loss, combined with a Lloydminster win in Canmore, the Barons fell to 3 points back of 2nd place in the AJHL's North division.
Houcher's opening goal came at the 5:30 mark when defenceman Brett McNeil (Halifax, NS) knocked a puck to centre ice that Houcher took for a 2-on-1 rush. As a left-handed shot along the right wing, the captain fired the puck inside the far post on Crusaders goalie Zac Klassen for an initial Oil Barons lead.
But just over 2 minutes later, the Crusaders converted on a similar chance when Tanner Laderoute fired a wrist shot past Zach Fortin (St. Jerome, PQ) on a similar 2-on-1 rush to tie the game.
Later in the period, the Crusaders found forward Brett Van Os wide open in front of the MOB net on a power play; but despite his having time to make a couple of moves, Fortin shot out his right pad and stopped the forehand try by the Crusader to keep the game knotted at 1 a piece.
The Barons were outshot 10-8 in the first, and were then held to just 5 shots in the second, though Fortin stopped all 10 Sherwood Park chances in the middle frame as well.
In the third, just over halfway through, the Crusaders found themselves on another 2-on-1 rush, until a diving poke check by newcomer Brett Doiron (St. Ann's, PEI) dislodged the puck from the Sherwood Park puck carrier. However, Bryar Ortynski found the loose puck at the right-wing faceoff circle, and fired a low shot between the pads of Fortin and into the back of the net for the eventual game-winning goal.
With the net empty, the Barons generated a couple of chances to tie, including a feed by Mitch Vanderlaan to a backdoor Landon Welykholowa that just missed in the final minute. But the Crusaders held on for the hard-fought regulation win to climb back over the .500 mark.
The Barons were outshot 11-9 in the third and 31-22 overall in the game, going 0/2 on the power play and 1/1 on the penalty kill.
Next up, the MOB caps off the weekend road trip with a Saturday night game in Bonnyville against the Pontiacs, against whom the Barons are 4-0 this year.
Puck drop is at 7:30 with pre-game coverage starting at 7:15 on KAOS 91.1.
KAOS 91.1 3 stars:
1. Tanner Laderoute (1 goal, 1 assist)
2. Bryar Ortynski (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Zac Klassen (21 saves, 22 shots)