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Conley scores Shootout Winner as MOB beat Dragons 5-4

The Oil Barons celebrate their 5-4 shootout win over the Drumheller Dragons. October 1, 2016/Taylor Pope/Rogers Media

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons are coming home from the AJHL Showcase with four points after a thrilling 5-4 shootout win Saturday afternoon against the Drumheller Dragons.

The MOB entered the game on a high after defeating the defending AJHL champion Brooks Bandits 4-2 the night before.

The Barons had the better chances through the first period and led 11-4 on the shot clock but it was the Dragons leading 1-0 on the scoreboard.

The game’s opening goal came off a Barons turnover at their own blueline which allowed the Dragons to storm in on goal. Eric Szudor made the first save but could not stop Brady Risk on the rebound.

The second period was dominated by the Barons as their speed forced Drumheller into penalty trouble.

The MOB worked the puck on the outside and with traffic in front of Dane Dow, Matteo Aiello wired a shot under the cross bar to tie the game. The goal was Aiello’s second of the season. JC Thivierge and Ben Allen picked up the assists.

Just over four minutes later on another man advantage, Thivierge received a pass from Ryan Cox and ripped a shot past Dow with Brandon Ralph providing the screen in front. Jack Hamly picked up the second assist on Thivierge’s team leading fourth goal of the year.

“Some games it works, other games it doesn’t and if you keep working hard and don’t think about it, things just come,” said a very humble Thivierge who has goals in back to back games.

The MOB weren’t done there; late in the period with the Dragons on a line change, Thivierge found a streaking Mason Martin who cut in from the left wing and beat Dow under his blocker arm short side for his first career AJHL goal.

“It was pretty awesome,” said Martin. “I knew right away I was going to score, I was gone and that’s my spot. I do that all the time in practice and it was a great pass by JC (Thivierge).”

Despite being outplayed for 40 minutes, the Dragons would not back down and came out with a much better effort in the final frame scoring three goals in a 4:31 span to take a 4-3 lead.

Chad Hurtubise roofed a shot short side on Szudor before Nate Keeley tied the game from a strange angle again beating Szudor up under the bar.

The Dragons took the lead on a short handed two on one as Jordan Taupert fed Stefan Wood who beat Szudor low on the blocker side.

The short handed goal didn’t deflate the Barons as they roared back, tying the game 38 seconds after the Wood goal. Shane Fraser teed up Will Conley in the slot and his shot went off a skate past Dow to tie the game.

“It’s been awhile and I needed that one for sure,” said Conley who hadn’t scored in six games. “Might not have been the nicest goal but it was worth it for sure and it came at a big time.”

Thivierge picked up his fourth point of the night on the goal with an assist and now leads the MOB in scoring with four goals and ten points through eight games.

The game would go to overtime where the MOB would have the better chances, outshooting the Dragons 4-0 but couldn’t find the back of the net.

In the shootout; after the first six shooters all failed to score, Conley walked around Dow and slipped the puck past his out stretched leg in the fourth round forcing Taupert into a must score situation.

“We play a game called two puck after practice every day and basically you just fake the shot and hope the goalie drops but if he doesn’t drop you look really stupid so I was just praying he dropped and I could walk around him,” said Conley

Taupert faked and shot five hole but Szudor stood tall giving the MOB their six win of the season.

“It was a huge weekend for us. Especially against Brooks that was a big game but even today, we shouldn’t have taken them as lightly as we did,” said Thivierge. “It was kind of an up and down type of game but those four points are definitely huge in the standings.”

Next up for the MOB (6-2-0) is back to back home games against the winless Lloydminster Bobcats (0-7-0) at the Casman Centre Friday October 7 and Saturday October 8. Both games are 8:00p.m. starts.