About ten huge open ice hits by the MOB set the tone and made the Casman Centre a scary place to play as the MOB dumped the Thunder 5-2 and ran them out of the building.
“When we’re moving our feet we take away time and space and it’s really difficult to play when you’re under pressure all the time, in any sport,” said MOB Assistant Coach Dave Dupas. “When somebody puts pressure on you, you panic, you make bad plays and you turn over pucks and that’s exactly what our game plan was today and the boys went out and they executed perfectly.”
It was a great bounce back effort by the Barons (21-13-7) after a rough showing a night earlier when the Thunder (18-20-5) knocked them off 5-4.
The first period was spent primarily in the Thunder’s zone and the MOB did everything but beat Luke Lush. Chance after chance was thwarted, the biggest off a cross ice pass from Taner Miller to Reed Morison that was stopped by the pad of Lush.
The Barons broke through 33 seconds into the second period while shorthanded when Jarred White brought the boom. An aggressive forecheck on the penalty kill forced the Thunder to scramble in the their own zone and White laid a thunderous check on Jesse Pomeroy that sent him flying through the air. The puck ended up on the tape of Jaedon Leslie and while everyone was chasing after White, Leslie tucked in a backhand past Lush.
“You can’t play easy games against these types of teams. You have to get physical, you have to get in the trenches with them and hopefully we learn from this because there’s been spurts where we play like this and then we get away from it,” said Dupas on the team’s physical style in the game. “When we’re finishing our checks and moving our feet, when we’re taking away time and space and pressuring the other teams defencemen, we’re a very good team.”
The Barons kept coming at the Thunder and were able to get bodies to the net. Tyler Maser banged home a rebound for his first goal as an Oil Baron while on a powerplay at 2:07. Then it was Maser again heading to the goal and Taner Miller’s shot bounced off his leg and into the net to put the MOB up 3-0.
“He’s a big strong kid so when he gets in front of the net if he’s willing to go there, there’s going to be pucks there for him and there’s going to be opportunities for him to score so it was good to see him put his first one in and hopefully many more to come,” said Dupas on Maser who was acquired by the MOB on December 8th.
The Thunder would get one back late in the frame when Jake Aston slipped a rebound through the legs of Josh Dias who was making his sixth straight start for the Barons.
A powerplay goal from Reed Morison to start the third period would extend the Barons lead back to three. Konrad Belcourt skated in and fed Morison in the face-off circle and he ripped home his 33rd of the year. Morison’s point streak is now at nine games and he has eight goals and 15 points during that stretch.
Aston would get his second of the night 32 seconds later to cut the lead back down to two but that was as close as the Thunder would get.
Ryan Conroy kept the physical play going when he launched James Orban through the air in centre ice. Jeremy Klessens came to the aid of his teammate but was no match for Conroy who sent him to the ice with a flurry of fists.
Conroy who stands at just 5’8 is quickly making it known to opposing teams that he is not a player you want to mess with.
“Those are the types of things he lives for and he put a hit on that guy and I thought it was a good clean hit, a guy wanted to come and challenge him and he got what he deserved I guess,” said Dupas on the young 17 year old defencemen.
Kole Gable would put the game away with an empty net goal to give him goals in four straight games. Gable also extended his point streak to eight games with a two point night and has 11 points during that time.
The MOB will look to continue their rough and tumble style as they welcome the division leading Sherwood Park Crusaders to the Casman Centre on Tuesday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Written by: Taylor Pope, mymcmurray.com
Photo by: Dan Lines
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