After coming out flat Thursday night to the Brooks Bandits, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons were revved up and ready to go Friday as they welcomed the Okotoks Oilers (9-5-2) to the Casman Centre.
The Barons (14-4-0) relied on two quick goals to start the second period and rolled to a 3-1 win and regained top spot in the AJHL.
“When you lose, you want to be able to bounce back right away, you don’t want to lose two or three in a row and our guys took a little bit of pride in that and I thought we got a much better effort from everybody,” said Head Coach Tom Keca.
Eric Szudor got the start for the MOB and turned aside 25 of 26 shots faced, picking up his seventh win of the year.
After a scoreless first period, the MOB came out flying to start the second. With good pressure down low, Ryan Cox spotted a wide open Kyler Newman at the left point. Newman walked in and wired a low hard shot into the bottom corner for his first career AJHL goal.
The goal was a big one for the second year defenceman who thought he had scored his first a few weeks earlier against Lloydminster but the goal was eventually credited to Matteo Aiello after it was deemed Newman never touched the puck.
“Kyler came to me and I asked if he touched it and he said I don’t think I did so I said you don’t want your first goal to be a cheap one, maybe your fourth or fifth can be a cheap one,” said Keca with a laugh. “It was well deserved, a great shot and great play.”
The MOB would strike again 47 seconds after the Newman goal when Curtis Roach dumped the puck in and hunted down the loose puck. Roach threw a pass out front and found a streaking Aiello who fired a shot past Riley Morris for his sixth of the year.
The Barons controlled the pace for most of the second but the Oilers would break through late an a two on one. Nolan Thompson’s shot was stopped by Szudor but the rebound came right to Tanner Laderoute who buried it into the gaping net to cut the lead in half with 0.5 seconds on the clock.
The goal was as close as the Oilers would get, with the net empty in the final minute of the third, Cox fed Brandon Ralph who slid home his sixth of the year to put the MOB back in the win column.
The Barons will take on the Spruce Grove Saints Sunday afternoon at the Casman Centre. It’s Halloween day at the rink so wear your costume for the chance to win a prize. Puck drop is set for 2:00pm.
The Oil Barons Made a move just prior to puck drop announcing they had acquired 1996 born forward and local Fort McMurrayite Toby Shattler from the La Ronge Ice Wolves.
Shattler is a former teammate of Brandon Ralph’s, the two played Bantam AA in Fort McMurray and three seasons in the Fort Saskatchewan AAA program.
Shattler has 163 games of Junior experience, split between La Ronge and the Grande Prairie Storm. He has 20 goals, 48 points and 312 penalty minutes.
“We felt that we needed a bit more sandpaper and if anybody knows Toby Shattler then they know he’s that type of gritty player,” said Keca of his new acquisition.