(Photo Supplied: Oil Barons defenceman Benjamin Orde celebrates his first career Junior ‘A’ goal in a 4-3 loss to Lloydminster at the Casman Centre on February 13, 2016. Dan Lines / FORT MCMURRAY OIL BARONS)
The Oil Barons were either tied or in the lead for all but two minutes against the Lloydminster Bobcats Saturday, but a goal with just eight seconds left lifted the RBC Cup hosts to a 4-3 regulation time victory.
Ben Sharf opened the scoring in the first frame, that goal held until six minutes into the third period where the Bobcats would score four goals to roar back for the win.
“With good teams you can’t give them opportunity after opportunity and they just kept coming at us, full credit to them. For the most part I loved the effort from our guys, we’re short staffed,” said Oil Barons Head Coach Tom Keca on the ROCK 97.9 post-game show.
The MOB played with just nine forwards and for a short period while Will Conley’s skate was under repair they had just eight attackers.
Conley extended his point-streak to six games; he has nine points over that span as he collected an assist on Brett Edwards’ goal with just over three minutes left to tie the game at three apiece. It was the third goal of the series for the Grande Prairie native and his fourth point.
“I really thought that the games in Grande Prairie which was sort of a homecoming for him, he was very good and he was good here on Tuesday and obviously last night getting two and today getting the one. He’s willing to go into those we call ‘em ‘dirty areas or greasy areas’ to score those goals.”
While earlier in the season seeing two one goal leads evaporate would’ve left the MOB in a mental panic, that hasn’t been the case since early December as again the Oil Barons found a way to push-back after the Bobcats took the lead with five minutes to play.
“It shows the resiliency we have at times from the guys in our dressing room,” said Keca. “It would’ve been easy for us to fold when it was 3-2 but we kept going, kept going, get pucks to the net and we keep talking about it good things will happen.”
The Oil Barons scored all three goals from the point Saturday, including Benjamin Orde’s first ever Junior ‘A’ goal in his third match as an affiliated player. Orde played some of his minor hockey in Fort McMurray and the 17-year-old blue-liner is currently a member of the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s (Junior ‘B’) Airdrie Thunder.
“We’ve challenged our defencemen here in the last month to get more shots from the point and they have done a better job, could we get better? Of course we could, especially on our power-play we’re not a threat to score from up-top but it’s something we work on and we’re getting better at.”
Lloydminster had 42 shots on net, Forbes Ploszaj turned aside 38 of them while Alex Leclerc had a quiet night with just 17 shots against.
Fort McMurray was oh-for-ten on the power-play in the two game set.
Lloydminster saw goals from Ryan Chynoweth, Eric Benshadle, Zac Giroux and Kevin Darrar who notched the winner.
The MOB will have a full week of practice before riding the bus to Bonnyville Friday night.
The players will also be taking part in a charity sledge hockey game Monday afternoon at the Casman Centre. Admission is $10 and the funds will go Spinal Cord Injury Alberta and the McMan Youth Family and Community Services Association. Doors open at 1:30 with puck-drop scheduled for 2 p.m.