The Fort McMurray Oil Barons kicked off a six game road trip Friday night in Whitecourt against a Wolverines team that ousted them from the North Division Final last season.
The MOB (12-2-1) have been red hot of late, riding a seven game winning streak entering the contest but the Wolverines (11-4-3) had pieced together a four game winning streak of their own and were looking to take down the division leading Barons.
And that they did. The Wolverines got a pair of goals from Tyr Thompson and ran over the Oil Barons 4-1.
“We didn’t compete, we didn’t win races, we didn’t win battles, we got pushed around all night,” said MOB head coach Tom Keca on the team’s first loss in three weeks.
The Wolverines dominated the physical side of the game and were able to take advantage of an Oil Barons blueline that lost 20 year old Curtis Roach in the games opening minutes after he slid heavily into the end boards leaving the MOB to play almost the entire game with five defencemen.
Thompson opened the scoring on a Wolverines powerplay at 11:11 of the first period when he rifled a shot off the crossbar and past Eric Szudor from the top of the face-off circle.
Just over three minutes later, the Wolverines struck again when Ryan Grant circled the MOB goal and swiftly fired a shot past Szudor on the far side for his first goal of the season.
The Wolverines added to their lead on another powerplay near the mid-way point of the second period when the newly acquired Mackenzie Harden set up Matthew Monk with a one-timer that beat Szudor just inside the post to make it 3-0.
Thompson extended the lead to 4-0 at 14:25 on a two on one rush when he kept the puck and fired home his second goal of the game. Thompson and his former Olds Grizzly teammate Ryley Smith combined for five points in the win.
“We gave up 41 shots, we had no scoring chances barely and we got pushed around so this is where we are,” said Keca when asked about this game being a measuring stick for where the MOB stack up a quarter of the way through the season.
The Barons got on the board with 1:42 left in the second period when Lucas Yovetich’s shot was blocked and landed right to Jack Hamly who ripped a shot past Xavier Potvin for his 5th goal of the year. Hamly now has goals in three straight games.
The Wolverines dominated the third period, outshooting the Barons 17-6 but Szudor was able to shut the door the rest of the way to give the MOB a chance. Final shots were 41-32 Wolverines.
The MOB continue their road trip Saturday and Sunday in Drayton Valley against the Thunder. The Country 93.3 pre-game show begins at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday and 2:45 p.m. on Sunday.
“If we can’t rebound after a performance like this, we have a lot bigger issues so that’ll address itself tomorrow (Saturday),” said Keca.
MOB head coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 post-game show.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com.
Photo taken by: Dan Lines, Fort McMurray Oil Barons