The Fort McMurray Oil Barons scored early and often Saturday night against the Lloydminster Bobcats as they cruised to an 11-2 win, highlighted by a 4 goal night from Reed Morison.
The MOB received goals from eight different players and 17 players hit the scoresheet with eight registering multi-point games. The last time the MOB scored at least 11 goals in a game came February 28, 2011 in a 13-2 road win over the St. Albert Steel.
The Barons (15-9-6) jumped on the Bobcats (7-24-1) early with a pair of first period goals from Reed Morison 1:46 apart. Two goals from a nearly identical spot. Morison setting up on his off-wing in the right face-off circle and Kole Gable spotting him.
Nolen Coventry made it a 3-0 game, 11:01 into the period when he banged home an Owen Kelly rebound.
“The one thing I told the players after the game was I appreciated the fact we got the first goal of every period. We talked that we wanted to get off to a good start, they had played last night in Sherwood Park, we felt that the first ten minutes would set the tone for the majority of the game and to get out to the 3-0 lead was well deserved,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca.
The Bobcats hung around until mid-way through the second period when the flood gates opened. Nicholas McCarry found a streaking Kelly who ripped a shot off the crossbar and in to make it 4-0 MOB. The goal was Kelly’s first career AJHL goal and capped off a memorable night for the Michigan native. Kelly who has become a solid blueliner for the MOB this season had a career high five points with a goal and four assists in the game.
“I joked on the bench it’s not Owen Kelly, it’s Owen Karlsson,” said Keca with a smile. “Quietly he got five points and he’s a quiet kid in the dressing, he doesn’t say too much he just goes about his business. He’s really improved for us defensively and he’s a great kid, great character and it’s always nice when those guys get rewarded.”
Morison completed the hat-trick at 12:30 of the second period after the Bobcats had got on the board. It was Gable again who found a wide open Morison in the slot. The 20 year old has recorded four hat-tricks for the MOB over his two seasons in Fort McMurray.
The Bobcats put themselves in penalty trouble late in the period and the MOB made them pay with back to back powerplay goals 18 seconds apart to make it 7-1. Peter Tomaras blasted a shot into the bottom left corner before Nathan Carl finished a nice give and go with Jesse Burchart at the side of the goal.
The MOB tacked on another four goals in the third period from Jarred White, Jesse Burchart, Nicholas McCarry and Morison with his 4th of the game. The four goals for Morison was a career high and gives him a league leading 23 goals through 30 games this season.
The Bobcats got a late goal from Chase Stephenson as he beat Chris Curr on a wrap-around. Curr returned to the MOB goal after missing the previous six games with an injury. He made 24 saves in his return. Curtis Meger picked up the loss for the Bobcats, allowing seven goals on 38 shots before being replaced by Cale Elder. The Barons fired a season high 53 shots in the game.
Saturday’s game marked game number 30 on the schedule for the MOB as they find themselves in fourth place in the North Division with 36 points. With a 15-9-6 record and the team playing some of their best hockey of the season of late, Keca is pleased with the direction the team is heading as the second half of the season begins.
“We’ve got nine regulation losses and when you look at the Alberta Junior Hockey League only three teams have less losses than us. A lot of those nine have been by one goal or with an empty netter, we have six overtime losses which is a little disheartening but in the end we didn’t get it done,” said Keca. “We want to get better and better and there’s a belief in our room that we are a good team when we want to fire on all cylinders so that’s a good thing and I really like the emergence of our younger players.”
The MOB wrap up their six game home stand Sunday afternoon when they welcome the Bonnyville Pontiacs to the Casman Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.