Will Conley picking up the puck and flying down the wing has been a reoccurring sight during his three seasons in a Fort McMurray Oil Barons jersey. However, this season, his ability to capitalize on the scoring chances he creates for himself with his speed has made him one of the most dangerous players in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Not once but twice Friday night, Conley flew down the right wing and scored his 38th and 39th goals of the season. His second goal, the overtime winner in a wild 5-4 win against the Camrose Kodiaks.
Conley picked up the puck in centre ice from JC Thivierge and blew past the Kodiak defenceman, skated around the goal and tucked the puck in behind Luke Lush to extend the MOB’s (37-10-3) win streak to five games.
“Will’s the type of guy that you have to be aware of when he’s on the ice and when it’s three-on-three there’s even more room for him. I thought he was going to shoot a bit earlier and try and go short side shelf again but kudos for him to have the patience and the goaltender bit on the fake and he was able to go around and get us the two points,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the overtime goal which was Conley’s league leading seventh game winning goal of the year.
The game didn’t start out the greatest for the MOB as the Kodiaks (19-20-12) came out hitting in a fast paced first period. A neutral zone turnover led to the game’s first goal at 15:44 of the period when Brock Bremer buried a rebound after the initial shot was stopped by Eric Szudor.
Bremer would then put the Kodiaks up 2-0 in the second period when a bouncing puck landed on his stick and he beat Szudor over the glove hand on a Kodiak powerplay.
The floodgates opened for the Barons just shy of the mid-way point of the third period as the MOB struck for four goals in a 4:25 span to take a 4-2 lead.
Jarred White got the ball rolling when he slipped a backhand shot past Luke Lush for his 6th of the year to cut the lead in half.
“It’s fitting that (Jarred) White gets us going in the third period because I thought him, (Luke) Harvie and (Peter) Tomaras were our most consistent line for the first two periods,” said Keca.
Two minutes later, Conley took a Shane Fraser pass and roared down the wing, rifling a shot over the glove hand of Lush, exploding the goalie’s water bottle to tie the game 2-2. The two goal night gave Conley 10 multi-goal games on the season and stretched his point streak to five games during which he has 7 goals and 10 points.
The Barons took their first lead of the game 23 seconds after the Conley goal. Jack Hamly won a face-off in his own end and Curtis Roach went end to end and snapped a shot just over Lush’s pad on the blocker side as he entered the Kodiaks zone. The goal was Roach’s 6th of the year and gave the reigning AJHL Player of the Week 11 points in his last 5 games. Defenceman Taner Miller picked up an assist on the goal which was his 100th career AJHL point. The third year blueliner has 20 goals and 80 assists in 167 career games.
Trevor Schroder would beat Lush on the blocker side on a powerplay with a quick shot from the right face-off circle to put the MOB up 4-2 with 6:51 left in the third period. Coy Prevost drew an assist on the goal, extending his point streak to four games.
The Kodiaks showed no quit and got goals from Ryan McKinnon and McKenzie Welke in the dying minutes to force overtime where Conley capped off a crazy night with his second highlight reel goal of the game.
“I don’t like the fact that really we only played 20 minutes. There were parts in the first two periods where I felt we were fairly dominate but once again it’s one thing to have puck possession and hem a team in and it’s another thing to be willing to bust seams and get good quality scoring chances and I don’t think we were willing to do that,” said Keca of his team’s performance.
The Barons will continue their road trip Saturday when they take on the Drumheller Dragons. You can catch the game on Country 93.3 beginning at 7:15 p.m. with the pre-game show with Taylor Pope.