After an uplifting and hard fought win over the Lloydminster Bobcats the night previous, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons failed to string together two wins in a row, suffering a 5-1 loss to the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
Eric Szudor stopped 32 of 37 shots including, although three of five goals against came on the Pontiacs’ power-play. Josh Williams remained undefeated on the season for the ‘Yaks with stopping 23 of 24 shots for his fifth win of the season.
The game started with an Austin Holmes goal just 23 seconds in for the Oil Barons as the road team grabbed an early 1-0 lead.
Chandler Klein tied it heading midway into the first period for the Pontiacs.
The Five on Three
At 5:22 of the second period, in a tie game Tyler Dea took a boarding call after nailing Chandler Klein in front of the penalty box. Dea got jumped by three members of the Pontiacs but ended up with an extra minor for Roughing After The Whistle, putting the Oil Barons down a man.
Oil Barons Head Coach Tom Keca wasn’t impressed with the job that referee Troy Winterhalt did from that point forward.
“I hate doing this, I’ll stick by my players but it’s disheartening when you play three in two and a half days and our guys are battling hard and you’ve got somebody that can have a very big impact on this game and I thought that was absolutely unacceptable,” said Keca on the ROCK 97.9 post-game show.
“The penalty on Tyler Dea whether it was a penalty or not fine, two guys jump him and he still gets another penalty on top of that and they end up with a power-play and then you’ve got a battle in the corner when you’re already down a man and he’s going to call a hold.”
The hold call to put the MOB down two men came against Jordan Steenbergen 48 seconds later. Bonnyville scored two goals from Erik Donald and Charlie Gawlicki 38 seconds apart on the power-play taking a 3-1 lead they’d never relinquish.
Bonnyville’s two quick goals took the air straight out of the MOB’s whistle.
The Special Teams Battle
The Oil Barons weren’t without their opportunities on the power-play as they failed to score on four opportunities, the Pontiacs scored on three of five.
“We had some chances on ours but again we’ve got too many perimeter guys. The guys want to make the sexy plays with all this motion and give-and-go’s when we want to jam the front of the net, get pucks there and battle like they battled,” said Keca.
Bonnyville’s third power-play goal came with 58 seconds left as Ryan Piche scored from off the wall, beating Szudor on the receiving end of a great pass from Garrett Jenkins out of the corner. Chard Hurtubise notched the Pontiacs’ fourth goal about five minutes into the third.
Waiting On Canmore
Tom Keca has a full four days of practice ahead of the MOB’s next game which starts a quiet period for the Oil Barons. They host Canmore Friday night, followed by two games the following weekend against Whitecourt. Three games over two weeks will give him plenty of time to tinker.
“We haven’t watched a lot of tape [on Canmore] we’ll do that, we’ll get prepared but again when you’re playing those south division teams when you’re only playing them twice in the year we’re more concerned with what we’re doing,” said Keca. “We’ve taken strides here in the last couple of weeks but we have a hiccup […] we have to be a little bit more consistent.”
Puck drop is at 8 p.m. on Friday, you can catch the game live on ROCK 97.9 starting with the pre-game show at 7:45 p.m. as the MOB look to improve their 3-17-4 record against the 12-7-2 Eagles.
Article courtesy of mymcmurray.com.
Photo taken on October 6, 2015 in Fort McMurray by Dan Lines.