The Fort McMurray Oil Barons kicked off a 4-game series against the Grande Prairie Storm this past weekend with two games at Centrefire Place, falling in the first game in the shootout 3-2 but bouncing back in the second game with a commanding 7-3 win.
It was a sluggish start for the MOB on Friday night. A back-and-forth first period saw just one goal, a powerplay marker from the Storm’s Cooper Connell. The Oil Barons would answer quickly in the second, with Michael Hodge scoring a powerplay goal of his own just a minute and fifteen seconds in. They would take the lead about six minutes later, with a beautiful tic-tac-toe play by the top line of Hodge, Hunter Lamb, and Hassan Akl, with Akl finishing it off. The Storm would tie things up with just under 5 minutes in the period on a two-on-one opportunity. Brett Meerman put a perfect pass onto the stick of Ethan Strang, who beat MOB netminder Josh Nadler. The third period saw no scoring, which led to overtime. Penalty trouble continued to haunt the Oil Barons, as Nickolas De Beurs would take a tripping penalty just over a minute in. Fort McMurray would kill it off, and after five minutes of three-on-three, it would take the shootout to solve the game. The first three shooters for both teams failed to find the back of the net. The Storm would finally beat Nadler. The Oil Barons missed on their next chance, giving the Storm a 3-2 shootout win.
Fort McMurray came out flying in the second game on Saturday night. The Storm opened the scoring in the first, with the puck finding Max Giangaulano all alone in the slot. The Barons would tie things up two and a half minutes later, with Rider Matter pouncing on a loose puck in the crease and beating Storm goalie Devin Chapman. Nickolas De Beurs would then give the Barons the lead off of a powerplay goal about midway through the period. The second period saw the MOB light the lamp, with goals by Hunter Lamb, De Beurs, and Hassan Akl within the first six minutes and forty seconds. Grande Prairie’s captain Dan McIntyre would try to rally his team with a spirited fight against Fort McMurray’s Ethan Jamernick. The effort appeared to pay off, as the Storm would score a powerplay goal just moments later. Hunter Lamb potted his second of the game with five minutes left in the period to increase the lead. Lukas Konashuk opened the scoring in the third for the Storm, but the MOB played effective shutdown hockey throughout the period. Tristan Kimmen added to the Barons’ lead with a minute left in the game to secure a 7-3 victory for the MOB.
The Oil Barons will take to the road this upcoming weekend with two games in Grande Prairie, Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. You can listen to both games on Country 93.3, with the pregame show starting fifteen minutes before puck-drop.