The Fort McMurray Oil Barons got back to their winning ways on Tuesday night, crushing North division rival Bonnyville by a final score of 5-0.
It was the first home game in almost 3 weeks for the MOB after seven straight on the road, and comes after a loss to defending league champion Spruce Grove.
“A real good statement game,” said Head Coach Gord Thibodeau. “Anytime you can beat a good northern foe 5-0 you’ve played pretty well.”
The Barons got goals from five different goal scorers.
Justin Rose scored his fourth of the year at 2:40 of the second period on another stellar individual effort, skating into the Bonnyville zone and roofing a shot from a sharp angle past goaltender Dylan Wells.
Defenceman Drew McLaughlin and forward Markus Gerbrandt rounded out the second period scoring with their first goals of the year at 7:33 and 8:47.
The Barons outshot the Pontiacs 15-4 in that period and 41-20 overall.
Midway through the third, Harrison Hendrix scored his fourth of the year and moved into a tie for the team lead in goals with Carson Cooper, Mitchell Board, and Rose.
His goal came off a perfect cross-crease pass from forward Matt Koebel.
Just over a minute later, rookie forward Wyat Haustein scored his first Junior A goal to finish the offensive output.
“You go into the game and maybe you’re not expecting the Haustein line to contribute a couple of goals, and they do,” recalled Thibodeau.
“That balanced scoring is real tough to shut down and we saw that tonight – you can maybe try to check one or two lines but we’ve got four that can go at any time.”
Brody Hoffman stopped all 20 Pontiac shots for his first shutout as a Baron. Despite facing only 10 shots in the final 40 minutes, the Saskatchewan native made several key saves in the scoreless first period to keep the Pontiacs off the board.
“He had a look tonight like you weren’t gonna beat him,” said Thibodeau. “Sometimes that goes a long way. First period, three or four chances that he stopped. He didn’t get a lot of work after that, but that’s what you need your goalie to do until you get the offence rolling.”
The Pontiacs took exception to a Barons attempt at a sixth goal late in the third; a scrum in front of goaltender Wells resulted in Bonnyville forward Tommy Barszcz, shielded by a full face cage, dropping the gloves with Gerbrandt.
“This is hockey, guys get frustrated, that’s the way it goes,” said Thibodeau, shrugging off the event. “I thought we reacted well to it – you know, you’re not going to intimidate Markus Gerbrandt.”
“You’re gonna have a tough time intimidating this team, and if you want to try that – we’ll be there.”
The Barons’ veteran won the fight handily despite the cage. (Video at http://youtu.be/Z5qsN0szEjw)
The MOB is now 2-0 against Bonnyville on the year; they went 2-4 in the season series last year, losing the first four.
Fort McMurray will stay at home for their next two games, starting Friday night at 8pm (7:45pm broadcast on Country 93.3) against the Olds Grizzlys.