Audio: Oil Barons Assistant Coach Mike Brodeur talks about the 3-2 victory
The Fort McMurray Oil Barons are streaking following a 3-2 victory in Grande Prairie Friday night as they swept the Storm in the two game series on the road by a combined 6-2 score.
For the Oil Barons the victory further strengthens their grip on the final playoff spot in the north division, they came into this two game set with a three point lead on the Storm and hit the bus following the game Friday with a seven point spread in hand.
Friday’s victory was likely the toughest of the ten the Oil Barons have collected this season as they overcame single goal deficits twice to eke out a win. A penalty to Jordan Steenbergen with 2:07 left in the game led to frantic play in the defensive zone to close out the game but the MOB were able to hold on for the win.
“We had guys lying down, we had guys diving, we had guys doing whatever they had to do to keep the puck out of the net,” said Oil Barons Assistant Coach Mike Brodeur. “That’s the desperation we needed at the beginning of the year that we didn’t have the [defensive] zone and now that we’ve finally figured that out now we’re starting to have success.”
Grande Prairie scored both goals on the power-play converting on 40 per cent of their five chances while the MOB went one-for-four.
Taner Miller stole the show with a two goal and one assist performance against his former Midget AAA goaltender with the Lethbridge AAA Hurricanes of the AMHL in Arik Weersink. Hayden Ursulak scored the first goal of the game for the MOB.
Since the first of December the Oil Barons have brought an increasing compete level to each game which has translated into recent success.
“We’re not sitting back when we were losing all those games we were doing too much sitting, watching and trying to anticipate what was going to happen now we’re forcing things to happen.”
Forbes Ploszaj picked up his second straight victory turning in an impressive 25 save performance as he duelled with his counterpart Weersink who battled through 30 of 33 shots faced.
Brendan Wagner and Carter Wolski scored for the Storm as they now look up at the Oil Barons from the north division cellar with just 10 games to go in the AJHL regular season, although they do hold a game in hand on Fort McMurray.
The recent surge into a playoff position is an important step in the development for this rebuilding Oil Barons squad that’s sure to pay dividends down the road.
Fort McMurray will now host Drayton Valley at the Casman Centre on Tuesday, Feb. 9. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.