A bit of a roller coaster weekend for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons who come home with a 1-1-1 record through their three games.
The weekend started Friday night with a tough 5-4 shootout loss to the Lloydminster Bobcats before the MOB picked up a thrilling 3-2 come from behind win Saturday in Bonnyville. However, the Pontiacs got some quick revenge by thumping the MOB 9-3 on Sunday.
The MOB (12-19-2) traveled to Onion Lake, SK Friday to take on the Bobcats (5-23-3) for a third straight game.
The Barons were playing with a depleted line-up with four players out with suspension and missing their two goalies as Chris Curr remains out with an injury and Evan Fradette was called up to the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL.
The Barons were able to jump out to a 3-1 lead early in the third period with goals from Josh Zinger, Hunter Leslie and Tyler Wallace but things changed in a hurry just past the six minute mark.
The Bobcats scored but the goal was immediately waved off by the official as the Barons goalie Cameron Beson was ran over in the crease. The officials discussed the play and the linesman deemed the Bobcats player was pushed into Beson and the goal stood.
The Barons visibly frustrated with the call allowed another goal 11 seconds later and all of a sudden it was a tie game 3-3.
Michael Hodge put the MOB up one but with the net empty, the Bobcats tied the score with 12 seconds remaining. Overtime solved nothing, and the lone goal of the shootout was scored by Chance Adrian in the fourth round to give the Bobcats the 5-4 win.
“We got hosed,” said MOB Head Coach Bob Beatty of the game. “Our goalie got run over a couple of times and one time that he was certainly interfered with and it ended up costing us a goal.”
Looking to rebound Saturday, the Barons met a Pontiacs team that had won four straight coming into play.
With the Pontiacs (21-9-2) leading 1-0 in the first period, Josh Zinger jumped on a loose puck to tie the game 1-1.
The Pontiacs took the lead early in the second period and held the lead until the dying minutes of the third period when Michael Hodge struck twice in a 2:27 span to put the MOB up 3-2 with 30 seconds remaining.
“Just a great puck placement by my linemate Hunter Lamb and I was lucky enough to take it to the hoop and tickle the twine a little bit,” said Hodge of his first goal. “Second goal was another great play by Lamb to get it up to Kabore (Dunn) and he finds me back door with an amazing pass and I was lucky to put that one in as well.”
Beson shut the door with his team down a goal and gave them every opportunity to get back in the game. The young netminder made 35 saves in picking up his first career AJHL win.
“We were down in the third and the boys just found a way to come back and we held on there at the end and it was exceptional. I was ecstatic after the game and showing lots of emotion on the ice and it was great to get the first one,” said Beson on picking up his first career AJHL win.
The victory was also the Barons first of the season when trailing after 40 minutes.
“It was great, we said we’ll just keep hammering away and we deserve a break and we’ll get one eventually and we did. It was a great team effort by everyone and Cameron Beson was exceptional for a 17 year old rookie goalie he was outstanding,” said Beatty.
On Sunday, the Barons and Pontiacs traded a pair of first period goals with Brendan Stafford getting both for the Barons on the power play as it was 2-2 through one period.
In the second, the Pontiacs began to pull away in a penalty filled affair as they opened up a 5-2 lead. They would tack on four more in the third period as the game got completely out of hand and saw a parade to the penalty box for both sides with multiple ejections.
A bright spot for the MOB in the 9-3 loss was all three of their goals were scored on the power play which has struggled at times this season. Zinger got the third goal to give him a three game goal streak as he found the back of the net in all three games this weekend.
“He works extremely hard and what’s not to like about the kid, he has a great attitude, he puts everything he has into it and he has courage and plays tough and has some skill,” said Beatty of Zinger. “He plays really well defensively and kills penalties and he’s been a huge addition.”
Mitchell Dudar made 39 saves in the loss in his first career AJHL start for the MOB. Michael Hodge picked up three assists in the game and now has three goals and five assists for eight points during a five game point streak.
The Barons are back in action this weekend at home as they welcome the Drayton Valley Thunder to the Casman Centre on Saturday and Bonnyville on Sunday.