The Fort McMurray Oil Barons kept their playoff wins alive with a commanding 3-0 win over the Whitecourt Wolverines in Game 5. With the win, the Barons now trail the Wolverines 3 games to 2 in the opening-round playoff series, with a chance to tie the series up at home in Fort McMurray.
After shelling Wolverines goaltender Vincent Duplessis for 4 goals in the third period of Game 4, the Barons looked to carry that momentum into Game 5. For the first time in the series, the MOB opened the scoring, as Hunter Leslie would intercept a breakout pass in the Wolverines zone, carry the puck in and pot a backhand shot past the glove-hand of Duplessis. The goal came just 2:42 into the opening frame. After surrendering leads earlier in the series, the Barons were able to continue to put pressure on Whitecourt, and keep the play away from their own end. The teams would trade penalties throughout the period, with a brief stint of 4-on-4 midway through. Neither team was able to convert on the man advantage. The Barons controlled the play in the first, and held Whitecourt to just 4 shots in the period – Fort McMurray fired 11 of their own.
The second period would pick up where the first ended for the MOB, as they would score another early goal to double up their lead. Declan Douthart took a feed from Leslie and walked into the high slot, where he would beat Duplessis on the glove hand with a quick snapshot. The goal came at the 4:47 mark of the period. Whitecourt continued to struggle offensively, putting just 3 shots on Evan Fradette. Kaleb Ergang took the lone penalty in the period, a slashing call at 10:23. The powerplay was the lone area you could say the MOB struggled, finishing the game 0 for 3 on the mand advantage. At the end of 40, it remained 2-0 for Fort McMurray.
The Barons would open the third in the same manner as they opened the first two periods – with offensive pressure and an early goal. Luke Harvie was sprung on a partial breakaway by Josh Zinger, took the puck wide on Duplessis and tucked it into the net off the backhand. The goal came just 2:45 into the period, and continued the trend of the Barons scoring early. Ethan Jamernik took the lone penalty of the period, a goaltender interference call after he took the puck hard to the net at 5:22. The Wolverines put pressure on the MOB, but their penalty kill was up to the task, and Whitecourt also finished 0 for 3 on the man advantage. The Barons entered shutdown mode to close out the period, and again limited the shots and scoring chances against. Fort McMurray didn’t come away completely unscathed, however, as Luke Harvie would take a hard check along the boards late in the period. Harvie would leave the game immediately, and his return for Game 6 is doubtful.
It was a great performance by the MOB, not only finding their offensive groove but also limiting the Wolverines to just 12 shots during the game. Evan Fradette earned the shutout, and the Barons carry a ton of momentum into Game 6. They will look to tie the series up tomorrow night at the Casman Centre. Puckdrop is at 7:30, the pregame show will start at 7:15 on Country 93.3 with Taylor Pope and Ben Maddigan.