A potential first round match-up in the AJHL North Division playoffs was on full display Saturday night at the Casman Centre.
The Fort McMurray Oil Barons and Grande Prairie Storm traded goals in a wild third period before Jarred White finished the game off in dramatic fashion in overtime to send the MOB away with a 4-3 win.
A tight hard checking first period saw neither team give up an inch. That was until Kole Gable broke free down the left wing on a two-on-one. Gable’s pass attempt to Peter Tomaras hit the Storm defenceman who laid down to block the pass and deflected into the open cage to give the Barons a 1-0 lead heading into the intermission.
Zachary Okabe tied the game early in the second period when the Storm were able to hem the MOB in their own zone and Noah Corson found Okabe on the back door.
The Barons (25-17-8) controlled the pace for most of the night and especially in the third period but two defensive zone turnovers led to two Storm (24-23-3) goals and forced the MOB to battle back.
The first saw Alex Nordstrom left all alone in front of Chris Curr and he was able to tuck the puck through his legs to give the Storm their first lead of the game 2-1.
The Barons would strike on a powerplay just over three minutes later to tie the game 2-2 when Taner Miller snapped home his career high 10th goal of the season. The goal also gave Miller 42 points on the year which is a career high for the fourth year bluneliner.
As the goal was being announced, the MOB coughed the puck up again in their own zone and Zach Webb finished off a quick passing play to restore the Storm’s lead.
The Barons pressed for an equalizer and with the goalie out the theatrics started when Kole Gable tied the game 3-3 with 52.2 seconds remaining when his shot from the right face-off circle beat Kaeden Lane on the far side.
The Oil Barons had chances to win it in overtime including a glorious chance by Gable that was denied by Lane.
It was at 2:11 of the extra frame that Jarred White picked up the puck in his own zone and raced down the left wing. With Peter Tomaras heading to the front of the goal, White deked and as Lane went down the puck slid between his legs and into the back of the net to send the Casman Centre into a frenzy.
“Whitey is one of the nicest kids that we’ve had come through our program. He’s a pleasure to coach, he’s so down to earth and he understands what his role is and he does that role religiously game in and game out and you know you’re going to get 100 per cent from him and when guys like that get rewarded it makes it that much more special,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on White getting the overtime winner.
The goal was White’s first in 19 games and couldn’t have come at a bigger time.
The win puts the Barons seven points up on the Storm for fourth place in the North Division and holding down home ice advantage in the first round of the AJHL playoffs.
A potential first round match-up, the MOB won the season series 5-1-0 with two of their wins coming in overtime.
Next up for the MOB they will head south to finish up their inter-division games. The Barons will be in Calgary to take on the Canucks on Friday, the Brooks Bandits Saturday and the Olds Grizzlys on Sunday. You can listen to all the action on Country 93.3 with Taylor Pope.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines