For a second straight game the Fort McMurray Oil Barons were on the brink of elimination and put forth one of their most complete efforts of the season to live to fight another day.
The MOB dumped the Whitecourt Wolverines 5-1 in Game 6 Sunday night in Whitecourt to tie up the best of seven North Division semi-final series at 3-3 and force a seventh and deciding game back in Fort McMurray on Tuesday.
“I thought that it was probably as solid of an effort that we’ve had in a very long time,” said MOB Head Coach Tom Keca about the most lopsided score we’ve seen in the series. “This is a series that has gone back and forth and you fight for every inch of ice everywhere and I felt that we just battled and we finished checks. We made the job for (Eric) Szudor a little easier and he’s gong to make those saves all night long.”
For the fourth time in the series it would be the Wolverines who opened the scoring when Jude Butler deflected a Brayden Labant shot 4:09 into the first period past Szudor.
The MOB responded well striking twice in just under a three minute span to take a 2-1 lead after the opening period. Merritt Oszytko was on the receiving end of a great feed from Coy Prevost as he deposited his first goal of the playoffs to tie the game 1-1.
It was then Taner Miller springing Jarred White with a long stretch pass at 15:24. White got around the Wolverines defenceman and pulled the puck around the outstretched pad of Xavier Potvin to tuck in his fourth goal of the playoffs in highlight reel fashion.
“We put our foot on the gas and after (Merritt) Oszytko got the first one that second one from (Jarred) White was a stretch pass up the middle from Taner Miller and he could’ve easily have backhanded and he pulls it to his forehand and scores and that was just a big time play,” said Keca of his team’s ability to bounce back after surrendering the first goal of the game. “White’s been one of our best players here in the playoffs and it’s great to see when good kids get rewarded.”
The second period would produce no goals but the Wolverines had several chances out shooting the MOB 9-3 in the frame and 25-21 overall.
In the third period the MOB poured on the offence to put the game out of reach. Jack Hamly gave the MOB some insurance when he finished off a three way passing play with Prevost and White to bury his first goal of the series and put the MOB up 3-1 just shy of the mid-way point of the frame.
The Barons tightened up defensively and it would be a blocked shot from Jackson Vertsraete that sent Peter Tomaras and Trevor Schroder racing up ice on a two-on-one. Tomaras flew down the right wing and fired a shot past Potvin giving him goals in back to back games.
White would add to the MOB’s lead 24 seconds later to make it 5-1 when he picked up the puck in centre ice after Ryan Conroy rimmed it around the boards out of his own end. White raced down the right wing and scored an almost identical goal to Tomaras for his second of the night and capped off a three point night for the winger.
“As good as we feel right now we try to keep the boys grounded and we haven’t won anything. All we’ve done is give ourselves another opportunity to get out of this series so I sincerely hope that we can pack the Casman Centre on Tuesday because we’re definitely going to need a seventh man in a seventh game,” said Keca.
Game 7 will be Tuesday night at the Casman Centre. Tickets are now on sale at the box office or online.
MOB Head Coach Tom Keca on the Country 93.3 Pots-Game Show.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines