The Fort McMurray Oil Barons welcomed the Whitecourt Wolverines to the Casman Centre for the first time this season Thursday night.
The teams traded leads throughout the game and it would be a shorthanded goal from Reed Morison in the third period that gave the MOB a 5-4 win, their fifth win in a row.
“There’s a big difference between being a North finalist and a North champion and until somebody else wins the North (Division) this year, the Whitecourt Wolverines are the defending champions and they’re the defending champions for a reason because on every dumped puck they go hard on the forecheck,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca who felt his team was outplayed throughout the night.” “Our defencemen didn’t have a lot of easy passes to make today and we can’t say the same.”
The Oil Barons (30-6-3) were able to get on the board early when Luke Harvie fended off a defender and got the puck to Trevor Schroder who danced around the Wolverine defenceman before firing a shot into the top corner on the short side past Tye Morin 2:53 into the game.
“He’s such a great kid and he’s always got a smile on his face. He’s like a gentle giant and he’s come a long way this year and for him to make that move, pull it off the half wall and then just shelf it short side…I mean that’s great for him to be able to do something like that,” said Keca on Schroder who now has goals in back to back games.
The MOB would double their lead five minutes later when a Reed Morison shot was kicked right into the slot and a wide open Nicholas Leeseberg hammered the puck past Morin for his 10th goal of the season.
The Barons looked to head into the first intermission up a pair but the Wolverines (25-11-5) battled on a late powerplay and were able to cut the lead in half on a goal from Tyr Thompson with three seconds left on the clock.
That goal seemed to spark the Wolverines as they scored two quick goals to start the second period and all of a sudden were leading 3-2. Stevie Bryant and Ben Evanish found themselves alone in front of Chris Curr and the MOB net on each of their goals as they scored within the opening five minutes of the period.
The Barons dug deep and restored their lead late in the second off goals from Will Conley and Domenico Argento. Conley busted off the half wall and drove towards the Wolverines net before firing a backhand shot past Morin for his 29th goal of the season. The goal extended Conley’s point streak to six games and gave him goals in four of his last five games.
With the score 3-3, the Barons got a powerplay with two minutes left in the period and were able to tee up Argento who blasted a bomb from the right point that beat Morin for his third goal of the season.
The Wolverines showed no quit in the third period and off a MOB turnover, Chase Haygarth beat Curr up high on the glove hand to tie the game at 4-4 just shy of the seven minute mark.
The teams traded late penalties but it was the Oil Barons who took advantage while a man down. Morison picked off a cross ice pass in the neutral zone and flew in on a breakaway. The Oil Barons leading scorer made no mistake, going upstairs over the blocker hand of Morin for his 21st goal of the year and league leading 4th shorthanded goal.
“Clutch goal by Morison again. He’s the type of guy that comes in on a breakaway and I’m already writing down who’s on the ice because he’s just a clutch player.” said Keca on Morison who has goals in four straight games and three shorthanded goals in his last four games.
The Oil Barons will continue their five game homestand Friday night when they welcome the Grande Prairie Storm to the Casman Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
CJHL Trade Deadline:
The January 10th trade deadline came and went with a flurry of moves around the AJHL. The Oil Barons made one big move late in the day as the team acquired the Canmore Eagles leading scorer and captain Coy Prevost in exchange for Connor Lyons and future considerations. The 20 year old Prevost has 17 goals and 39 points in 38 games this season. He is currently serving a five game suspension and will be eligible to make his MOB debut on January 23rd.
“We felt that we needed a bigger bodied guy that could not only play a physical game but could also add some scoring. By all reports he’s a tremendous kid and he’s going to bring all types of character to our dressing room,” said Keca on adding Prevost who stands at 6’1 and 190lbs.
MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 Post-Game Show.