FORT MCMURRAY, AB (October 18, 2013) — It was another nailbiter, but the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (15-0-1) extended their franchise record unbeaten streak to 16 straight games with a 3-2 win over the Camrose Kodiaks (4-8-3) at the Casman Centre on Friday night in front of 1,754 fans.
Brennan Saulnier (Halifax, NS), Danton Ayotte (Wetaskiwin, AB), and Jetlan Houcher (Paradise Valley, AB) scored goals for the Barons, while Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) made 33 saves for his 11th win on the year.
A scoreless first period saw the Barons get outshot 11-6 by the Kodiaks, despite a 2-0 powerplay advantage for the home side, and a chance at an open net for Houcher on the first man advantage that the captain fired wide. But key saves by Jaillet kept the game scoreless, setting the stage for the MOB to take control in the middle frame.
In the final minute of the second, MOB defenceman Austin Yadlowski (Edmonton, AB) took umbrage with a hit on Saulnier and dropped the gloves with Kodiak defenceman Matt Waseylenko for a lengthy even fight.
Just 3:47 into the second period, a tenacious rush by Mitchell Vanderlaan (Hanwell, NB) ended with a point blank shot that was saved by goaltender Devin McDonald; but the rebound was knocked into the back of the net by Saulnier for the first goal of the game.
Less than two minutes later, at the 5:01 mark, Adam Durkee (Lafayette, CO) won a faceoff that Ayotte was able to wrist past a seemingly frozen McDonald to double the McMurray lead.
With 5:31 left in the second, and the Barons on another power play, defenceman Brett McNeil (Halifax, NS) was ridden hard into the corner boards of his own end with a hit from behind by Ryan Huolt of the Kodiaks, and left the game. Huolt was ejected and assessed a five minute major penalty, putting the Barons on an extended 5-on-3.
But the two-man advantage didn't produce a goal; and on the ensuing 5-on-4, the Kodiaks scored shorthanded when Nelson Gadoury fired a rebound shot past Jaillet to bring the Kodiaks to within one before the second intermission.
The third would remain close until the 11:39 mark, when Ryan Bloom (Calgary, AB) beat two back checkers down low with his team on a line change, fed a pass to Jojn Teets (Fairbanks, AK), whose point shot was deflected into the slot where Houcher nudged it past McDonald for a 3-1 McMurray lead.
The Kodiaks wouldn't go quietly, though, as Gadoury scored his second of the night off of a net-front scramble with 3:29 left in regulation.
But even with the extra attacker for the Kodiaks, the MOB was able to hold on and preserve another one-goal win.
The team will now get set for a Saturday night home game against the Drumheller Dragons. Puck drop is at 8 PM with pre-game coverage starting at 7:45 PM on Country 93.3.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
1. Tanner Jaillet (33 saves, 35 shots)
2. Nelson Gadoury (2 goals)
3. Brennan Saulnier (1 goal)