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Pontiacs hand MOB first loss of Season

Last Updated Sep 21, 2016 at 11:22 am MDT

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons take on the Bonnyville Pontiacs. September 20, 2016. Taylor Pope/Rogers Media

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons hit the road for the first time in this young AJHL season with a quick trip down to Bonnyville Tuesday night.

Just like the Oil Barons, the Pontiacs have seen major changes to their lineup this year as the team tries to fill the holes left by the departures of Brinson and Steenn Pasichnuk and Bobby McMann. Pontiacs Head Coach Rick Swan seems to have found a gem in PJ Marrocco as the former Camrose Kodiak lit the lamp three times and added an assist in a 5-2 win for Bonnyville.

The MOB seemed flat out of the gate, giving up early odd man rushes and when playing against a strong Pontiacs team, that spelled trouble early on.

Marrocco opened the scoring at the 5:02 mark when he jumped all over a rebound in front to tuck home his first of the evening.

The MOB would look to get something going on the powerplay late in the period but it would be the Pontiacs doubling their lead on a short handed two on one. Derek Brown fed Alden Dupuis and a sprawling Eric Szudor had no chance.

Marrocco would add his second of the night before the period was out, wiring a shot into the top left corner with 52 seconds left in the first.

“Let’s not kid ourselves, we gave up way too many odd man rushes,” said a frustrated Oil Barons Head Coach Tom Keca after the game. “When you’re playing a good offensive team, they’re going to make you pay…and until guys figure out that we have to manage the puck better, these are the types of results that we’re going to get.”

In the second it was another two on one that found the back of the net for the Pontiacs, this time Marrocco setting up Brandon Whistle.

The MOB would get one back at the 12:16 mark when Liam Izyk fired a low shot towards goal that slipped through the legs of Matteo Esposito for his first career AJHL goal.

“Liam is one of those guys that just goes about his business, works as hard as he can and then the results will come. I wish that some other guys would take a page out of his playbook because if we had more guys on his page we probably would’ve been a bit more successful tonight,”

The Pontiacs made it 5-1 with Marrocco’s hat-trick goal in the third on a powerplay. The former Kodiak beat two MOB defenders to the puck in front and fired home a rebound.

“He stopped a breakaway and a stopped a penalty shot, did I like all of the goals, no but this was not on Erc Szudor,” said Keca when asked of his goaltender’s performance. Szudor stopped 29 of 34 shots fired his way.

The Barons would get one late when Taner Miller found a loose puck in the slot on a powerplay and popped in his second goal of the season. Brandon Ralph and Jordan Steenbergen drew the assists.

“There’s no easy games here, we talk about it being a 60 game schedule but really you can’t look down the road too far so for us right now we’ll get back at the drawing board tomorrow and hopefully have a better weekend,” said Keca.

The Barons will be home to Canmore Friday and Lloydminster Saturday. Both games will be an 8:00p.m. puck drop at the Casman Centre.

If you can’t make it to the rink the games will be broadcasted on Country 93.3 with Taylor Pope and Bruce Ferguson beginning with the pre-game show at 7:45p.m.


Jackson McKinstry had his arm in a sling and is expected to be out for 4-6 weeks. The overager was injured Saturday night against Grande Prairie when he got tangled up in front of the benches. Jayden Pannu did not make the trip to Bonnyville. The young defenceman is suffering from a head injury after being cross-checked in the face by Zach McNeill Saturday. McNeill was handed a five game suspension by the league. Cody Hodgson also did not make the trip, his status with the team remains unknown.

Oil Barons Head Coach Tom Keca post-game scrum