The Bonnyville Pontiacs jumped on the Fort McMurray Oil Barons early on Sunday afternoon but the MOB showed no panic and continued to chip away, scoring four unanswered goals en route to a 5-3 win over their division rivals.
The win was the third in a row for the MOB and capped off a six game homestand with a 4-1-1 record. The Oil Barons (16-9-6) are playing some of their best hockey of the season and it has shown over the past month with the team going 7-2-1 in their last ten games.
“When we’re engaged and when we’re willing to get there and when we’re willing to compete we’re not too bad and I thought that today was a win that will resonate more in our dressing room than anywhere else and it shows our guys that when we are committed we can compete with anyone,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca.
The Pontiacs Lucas Reeves snuck a shot through the legs of Chris Curr 5:22 into the first period to give the visitor’s the early lead. The MOB stormed back tying the game 26 seconds later when Reed Morison picked off a pass in the offensive zone. His shot hit the goal post and bounced off the back of Colby Muise and into the goal.
Reeves would strike again for the Pontiacs at 11:12 of the period when he was left wide open at the side of the goal and snapped home a feed from Sean Thomson.
Just over three minutes late, the Pontiacs added to their league leading eight shorthanded goals when Grayson Constable out muscled the MOB defender for a loose puck and deked around Curr to make it a 3-1 game.
The Barons would respond with a shorthanded marker of their own in the final minute of the first period. Morison stripped the Pontiac defenceman behind his own goal and before Muise realized Morison had the puck, it was in the net. The goal gave Morison a league leading 25 and was his sixth goal over the last four periods after scoring four a night earlier against the Bobcats.
After Kole Gable set Morison up four times on Saturday night, it was Morison’s turn to return the favour. After Ryan Conroy knocked a puck to Morison behind the Pontiacs goal. Morison centred to Gable who beat Muise up high to tie the game 3-3, 12:35 into the second period.
“They’ve just got that chemistry, they both played in the Western Hockey League, they understand when to go and when to hold back, they’re intelligent players,” said Keca of the pair who sit second and seventh in league scoring. “Gable is more of a mucker and grinder and Morison is a goal scorer so there’s no surprise that Morison leads our team in goals and Gable in assists.”
The Barons took their first lead of the game at 18:52 when newly acquired Tyson Scott banged in a rebound on a powerplay.
“For him to plant himself in front of the net on the powerplay where he likes to play and for Liam (Izyk) just to get the puck there and we tell players it doesn’t have to be hard, it just has to get through that first wave – at that crucial time I thought that was a huge goal for us,” said Keca on Scott’s first goal as an Oil Baron.
The Barons kept coming in the third period and it was Jesse Burchart who gave the MOB the insurance marker they needed when he deflected in an Owen Kelly point shot. Burchart now has goals in back to back games while Kelly has six points in his last two games.
The MOB finish up before the Christmas break with a trip through the South Division. They will take on Canmore on Friday, Okotoks Saturday and the Calgary Mustangs Sunday afternoon. 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.