The Fort McMurray Oil Barons opened up their second round playoff match-up against the Sherwood Park Crusaders Friday night at the Sherwood Park Arena.
The MOB generated a number of scoring chances but couldn’t find a way to beat Crusader goalie Matt Berlin as the Crusaders opened the series with a 4-0 win.
The Crusaders who finished the regular season with a franchise best 44 wins received a first round bye and hadn’t played since March 2nd. While the Oil Barons were coming off a four game series win in the opening round against the Grande Prairie Storm.
The Crusaders jumped out to an early lead when Garrett Clegg beat Chris Curr off the rush 2:29 into the game. Curr would get his revenge a few minutes later when he robbed Clegg on a breakaway and then stoned Brandon Wallis who broke in clean. The St. Albert native was giving the Oil Barons a chance to get back into the game.
His counterpart, Matt Berlin made 34 saves in picking up the shutout. His biggest stop of the night came early in the second period when Reed Morison came in on a breakaway while the Oil Barons were killing a 5-on-3 powerplay for the Crusaders. Morison tried to go five-hole but Berlin shut the door to keep his team up 1-0.
After killing off three straight penalties, the Crusaders capitalized on one of their own at 11:27 of the second period. Carter Savoie served up a cross-ice pass to Arjun Atwal who hammered in a shot past Curr.
The Oil Barons tried to get back into the game in the third period but every chance was thwarted by Berlin.
The Crusaders received insurance markers from Tanner Fincaryk and Cameron Aucoin to round out the scoring and take the early lead in the series.
The Oil Barons powerplay struggled in the game going 0-5 while the Crusaders went 1-6. Curr made 37 saves in a losing effort for the MOB.
The two teams will meet again Saturday night for Game 2 at the Sherwood Park Arena. You can catch all the action on Country 93.3 with Taylor Pope beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.