Heading into their Friday night matchup, both the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and the Blackfalds Bulldogs were looking for a bounce-back, both having lost their previous games. For the Oil Barons, it was a 5-1 Wednesday night loss at the hands of the Bonnyville Pontiacs, a game Fort McMurray would rather forget, as they allowed three third-period goals in less than six minutes to see the game get away from them. For Blackfalds, their Tuesday night loss in Drumheller came in a similar fashion, as they also allowed three third-period goals letting a 3-1 lead slip away.
Despite the Bulldogs holding the edge in shots on goal, Fort McMurray led 1-0 through two periods on the back of a first-period goal from Jesse Burchart. Burchart’s shorthanded goal at the beginning of the third period extended the Fort McMurray lead, but Jayden Joly quickly hit back with a power-play goal to narrow the gap down to one.
Despite a parade of penalties from both teams, Blackfalds continued their pressure throughout the third period, finishing the final twenty minutes with an 11-4 lead in shots for the third and a 29-17 edge in shots for the game. With just over three minutes left in the third, Keanu Krenn drove toward the front of the net and had Connor Dick’s centering pass redirect into the net off his arm. Krenn’s first Alberta Junior Hockey League goal gave Blackfalds the tying marker they had long fought for, but the salvation was ultimately short-lived. Just 0:22 seconds after Krenn’s goal, Bailey Ewonus was sent to the penalty box for tripping, giving Fort McMurray the power-play opportunity they needed. Max McCoy’s fifth goal of the season ended up being enough to seal victory for the Oil Barons, handing Bulldogs goaltender Charlie Zolin his first loss of the season in the process.
Blackfalds looks to bounce back in Bonnyville tomorrow night, taking on a Pontiacs team that has won their last four, and five of their last six games.
Article by Aidan Serra.