A quick pace in front of a packed house Saturday night at the Casman Centre saw the Fort McMurray Oil Barons skate away with a 5-3 win over the Canmore Eagles.
The MOB (18-3-1) saw their two goal lead evaporate early in the third period but Merritt Oszytko and Reed Morison were able to respond for the Oil Barons as the MOB beat the Eagles (9-11-1) for the second time this season.
“There were definitely parts of the game today where we played extremely well. When we wanted to get in on forecheck and move our feet we created a lot of turnovers,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca.
An extremely fast paced first period with barely any whistles had both teams creating chances off the rush. However, it would be the Oil Barons who capitalized when Ncholas Leeseberg flew down the right boards and from the face-off circle wired a shot into the top left corner past the blocker arm of Thomas Davis.
“It was great to see him get that first goal to come off the wing and rifle it far side it was almost like you were looking at Will Conley. It was good for Leeseberg to break out, he got a couple other points so it was good,” said Keca on Leeseberg.
The MOB doubled their lead 1:12 into the second period when Shane Fraser sprung Will Conley down the wing. Conley fired a quick shot on goal that beat Davis again on the blocker side to put the MOB up 2-0. The goal was Conley’s team leading 18th of the year.
The Eagles were able to cut the lead in half off a rush of their own. Taden Rattie found Tian Rask streaking towards the Oil Barons goal unmarked and Rask tipped the pass in behind Eric Szudor.
The Barons kept coming at the Eagles and after Davis made several saves in a mad scramble, Liam Izyk buried a loose puck for his 6th of the year to give the MOB a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
Penalty trouble early in the third period for the Oil Barons gave the Eagles every opportunity to get back in the game and they took advantage scoring two goals 1:22 apart to tie the game at 3-3. Alex Young and his brother Colton got the goals for the Eagles.
The Barons didn’t let the two goals deflate them as they stormed right back and re-took the lead at the mid-way point of the third period when Jack Hamly chased down a puck in the corner and threw it to the front of the goal. The puck went off a skate and right to Merritt Oszytko who quickly put it up under the crossbar from in tight. The goal was Oszytko’s 2nd as a member of the MOB and 12th of the year.
“He’s a very welcomed addition, he’s a great kid, he works hard so he’s going to be a valued member here as we start hitting the middle part and the later stretch of the season,” said Keca of Oszytko.
Looking for an insurance marker the Barons had chances when defenceman Gunner Kinniburgh got free on a partial breakaway but was stopped. Moments later the Barons created a turnover and Izyk centered the puck to Reed Morison who potted home his 11th goal of the season with just over two minutes left on the clock.
“That line when you look at it, Liam Izyk is the centreman, he’s the catalyst, takes a lot of important draws for us, he’s got a good set of boots on him. Morison is a very talented offensive gifted player that can shoot the puck from anywhere and Leeseberg intimidates with speed,” said Keca of trio who each scored in the win.
The Barons outshot the Eagles 40-36 in the game and Eric Szudor picked up his 12th win.
The Barons will be on the road for three games this week as they head to Spruce Grove on Thursday, Lloydminster on Friday and Bonnyville on Saturday.
You can catch all the action on Country 93.3 with Taylor Pope.
MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 Post-Game Show.