After two tough losses to start their road trip, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons were looking for a better fate Sunday afternoon when they battled the Olds Grizzlys.
Trailing 3-1 in the second period, the Oil Barons scored five unanswered goals to propel them to a 6-3 win.
“In times when you’re struggling like we did this weekend – it’s tough because as a coach you go through these peaks and valleys through the course of the year and I tell you it’s about the process but unfortunately we’re at a point in the season now where it’s about the results,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca.
“When I look back at this weekend, I love the way we played. I love the way we played Friday, I thought that we dominated but didn’t get rewarded, I thought that we played well in Brooks and I thought that we played well today. While statistically we’re only coming home with one out of three wins we’re trending in the right direction.”
The MOB (26-19-8) got off to a great start as Reed Morison scored 34 seconds into the game with a blistering shot from the slot.
But from there, the Grizzlys (6-44-3) would take the lead with two quick goals of their own when Noah Kiemel scored on a powerplay and then Colby Wolter beat Josh Dias from the top of the right face-off circle.
Dias was making his first start in nearly a month and after allowing two goals on four shots was pulled and Chris Curr took over.
The Grizzlys added to their lead 4:41 into the second period when Andrew Malek beat Curr on a breakaway.
The Barons responded well however, scoring on the next shift to get back within a goal. Jarred White’s shot bounced right to Jaedon Leslie who buried his first goal in 11 games and got some revenge on Jay Thomson who robbed him moments earlier on a breakaway.
Leslie would help set up the tying goal as the MOB got even just over three minutes later. Leslie won the face-off to Morison who tipped it back to Taner Miller. The captain hammered home his 11th of the year to tie the game 3-3.
“Taner’s a wily vet and he’s always been known as an offensive guy and it was a great job by our forwards to win the draw and get the puck back and just get it on net. We talk to our players as long as we get pucks and traffic in front, good things will happen,” said Keca on Miller’s ability to get shots through.
The MOB took advantage of a powerplay to start the third period and it was Leslie again who was in on the goal. After the MOB worked the puck around, Leslie walked in from the right face-off circle and picked the top left corner for his second goal of the game.
“He’s such a likable guy and he does so many other things, he kills penalties, he takes face-offs and he was snake bitten,” said Keca on Leslie who has five goals and 13 points since coming over in a trade from Whitecourt. “He’s had some great opportunities, he had some last night in Brooks and didn’t get rewarded but today he does a great job.”
Jarred White gave the Barons an insurance marker with just over two minutes left in the third period when he stuffed in a puck at the side of the goal. White now has three goals in his last four games.
Morison would add an empty net goal to round out the scoring to give him a three point game as he became the third player this season to eclipse 70 points. Morison continues to lead the AJHL in goals with 38 and sits third in points with 71.
The Oil Barons will return home for their next four games beginning Friday when the Bonnyville Pontiacs visit the Casman Centre.