(Photo Supplied: Oil Barons forward Cole Todd drives to the net against the Grande Prairie Storm at the Casman Centre on December 4, 2015. Dan Lines / FORT MCMURRAY OIL BARONS)
- Cole Todd scores a pair, including a power-play goal
Ursulak and Conley get two points each
Oil Barons just two points out of a playoff spot
The Fort McMurray Oil Barons are undefeated in the second half of the AJHL season.
The MOB took a 5-3 win over the visiting Grande Prairie Storm Friday. Fort McMurray jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period and never relinquished the lead although early in the third things were maybe a little more interesting than they should have been with two Storm goals within 24 seconds of each other.
“We had our lapses but tonight at least we found more ways to put more pucks in than them I thought we had a good effort all the way from the net out,” said Mike Brodeur, Assistant Coach on the ROCK 97.9 post-game show. “Everybody was working in the same direction and we pulled off a win.”
Connor McCallum opened the scoring 7:30 into the first period for his sixth of the year off a neatly wrapped early Christmas present from Carter Wolski who passed the puck onto the centreman’s stick right in front of Tate Sproxton for an easy goal.
Todd, Conley, Ursulak – so hot right now
Cole Todd notched his first of two on the night 27 seconds into the second period on the power-play, it was another strong night for Todd who now has four goals in his last five games.
While Will Conley and Hayden Ursulak both had helpers on Shawn Weber’s fifth of the year. Having played 27 games this year Weber has already matched his goal and assist total from last year.
“The two new guys have definitely helped Ursulak and Conley getting pucks to the net, they move the puck quickly, we get into the dirty areas and I liked our power-play today we were moving the puck pretty well getting pucks on net and getting to the greasy areas to try and get second chances,” said Brodeur.
The Oil Barons went one-for-three on the power-play, Grande Prairie went two-for-six.
Four line effort
Head Coach Tom Keca was able to roll all four lines and got offensive production from the first, second, and fourth units. A good sign for a team getting ready to play six of its next seven on the road, first to Drayton Valley and Grande Prairie, then a southern swing through the Calgary area teams.
“You’ve got that speed, you’ve got that consistency on those two first lines and I think our third and fourth lines did a great job tonight too,” said Brodeur. “Everybody buzzing, everybody getting shifts, everybody playing the right way, I think we’re all starting to find our itch here and realize that we’ve got to be a work style team. As long as we come, work hard and hit hard we can be successful.”
The Storm had goals from Frank Sullivan, Ian McLellan, and Parker Wakaruk. Grande Prairie drew within a goal early in the third period. It may not have happened earlier this year but the Oil Barons were able to settle down and refocus, Hayden Ursulak notched the insurance goal midway through the final frame.
Again the new kids acquired from Brooks were impressive Ursulak had a goal and an assist while Conley picked up two helpers. They’ve got a combined five points through their first two games with the Oil Barons.
“Getting those two guys with the speed and the skill they have, moving forward they’re a lot like Holmes and Welykholowa but we get them for a couple of extra years which is bonus for us.”
Ravi Dattani picked up his fourth win of the season making 28 of 31 saves and pushing the Oil Barons’ record to 4-21-6 just two points back of the 7-23-2 Storm for the final playoff spot in the North Division.
Tate Sproxton stopped 25 of 30 shots in just his fourth loss of the season.
The Oil Barons head out of town Monday evening ahead of Tuesday and Wednesday games against Drayton Valley and Grande Prairie respectively.
Puck drop for both games is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., we’ll carry the broadcast live on ROCK 97.9 starting with the pre-game show at 7:15 p.m.