The Fort McMurray Oil Barons continued to dominate the Spruce Grove Saints over this past weekend, pick up their 4th and 5th straight win on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
The Oil Barons came out guns blazing at Centrefire Place on Friday night, potting 4 goals within the first 9 minutes of the first period. Hunter Lamb opened things up, followed by Aiden Moore scoring his first career AJHL goal. Jesse Burchart scored a highlight-reel goal on a partial breakaway. The flurry of offense against would signal a goaltending change for the Saints, as starter Thomas Couture allowed 3 goals on just 4 shots. Rider McCallum would make it 4-0 with a powerplay goal just moments later. The Saints would finally get on the board off a goal from Jake Aston, but Aiden Moore would answer just a minute and a half later with his second of the game. Michael Hodge added to the lead after a point shot from Lucas Jones deflected off his chest and into the net. This would signal a second goaltending change, as backup Levi Hall didn’t fare any better than Couture. Brett Pfoh scored late in the period to try and cut into the MOB lead, but the Barons would carry a healthy 6-2 lead to the first intermission.
The MOB kept the pressure on in the second, with Hassan Akl scoring just over a minute into the period. Brett Pfoh scored his second of the game to try and get his team back into it, but the period was another dominant one for Fort McMurray. Jesse Burchart was sprung on a breakaway and hauled down from behind, earning a penalty shot. The Fort McMurray native showed great patience on the attempt, getting Couture to commit and tucking the puck around him for Burchart’s second of the game. The Barons would head to the dressing room leading 8-3.
Saints captain Graham Gamache scored early in the third, but the Oil Barons played shutdown hockey throughout the period. In the final minutes of the game, Hunter Lamb was able to beat two defenders in a race for the puck going into the Saints goal and score his second of the game, and Jesse Burchart completed the hat-trick with a backhand shot on the man advantage. The Baron would win the game 10-4. Final shots were 37-26 for the MOB. Fort McMurray went 2-of-4 on the powerplay, while killing off all 3 of their penalties.
It was a slow start for the MOB in Spruce Grove on Sunday. They would fail to convert on an early 5-on-3 powerplay, and the Saints would have a lot of offensive zone time. A slashing call against Joel Mabin to a backdoor powerplay goal by Saints’ forward Luigi Benincasa midway through the opening period. Michael Hodge would tie things up with 5 and a half minutes left, sending both teams to the dressing room tied 1-1.
The Barons came out much more determined in the second, with Tristan Kimman bouncing the puck off the back of Saints goalie Tyler Palmer from behind the net just over a minute into the period. Just before the midway of the period, Max Struss stood up Luigi Benincasa with a hard check at the MOB blueline. Saints defenceman Brophey Dunne took exception to the check, and he and Struss would throw down in a spirited fight. Jesse Burchart would score his 4th goal in the last 2 games midway through the period, followed by a powerplay marker by Michael Hodge to give the Barons a 4-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
There wasn’t much to write about in the third, as the Barons would just play conservatively to keep the lead. The MOB registered just 6 shots in the period, and the Saints only 2. Fort McMurray would cruise to a 4-1 win, their fifth straight against the Saints. Final shots were 31-23 Barons, and both teams went 1-for-3 on the powerplay. Michael Hodge and Hunter Lamb both registered their 100th career AJHL point in the game.
The Barons will wrap up their 8 game series against the Saints this upcoming weekend. They’ll be on the road in Spruce Grove on Friday for a 7 p.m. puck-drop, followed by a 4 p.m. game back home on Sunday. You can listen to both games on Country 93.3, pregame show starts 15 minutes before puck-drop.