The Fort McMurray Oil Barons finished their four-game series against the Grande Prairie Storm with another split weekend, winning 6-2 before losing 3-1.
Despite the loss, the MOB remain at the top of the Viterra AJHL North devision, and are third in the AJHL.
In Grande Prairie on Friday, the Oil Barons were first to take the lead with a goal from forward Hank Akl scored. However, a goal from Grande Prairie’s Zac Sirota evened the score heading into the second period.
Although the Storm quickly took the lead with a goal less than a minute into the second period, a short-handed goal from Oil Barons forward Ethan Anstey tied the game again. The lead was increased when MOB forward Michael Hodge scored later in the period.
The Oil Barons dominated the third period, scoring three goals, including an empty net goal from Hodge. The MOB won 6-2.
“I thought we struggled a little bit out of the gate, but we played a really good second and third,” said Fort McMurray Oil Barons head coach Gord Thibodeau
However, when the teams were back on the Grande Prairie ice on Saturday, the Oil Barons did not see the same success as the previous night.
Akl scored the only goal in the first period just 12 seconds before the buzzer to give the Oil Barons the lead. But when the two teams stepped back on the ice for the second period, it was the Storm that scored two goals to take the lead.
A third goal from the Storm in the third period solidified their 3-1 win. Thibodeau said the game was the team’s worst defeat and effort of the year.
“We just didn’t show up, frankly,” he said. “Just not a lot of physicality by us, not a lot of effort and we got the deserving result, we lost the game.”
It has been a long year for the team and Thibodeau thinks some players may be having trouble staying motivated, but said it’s something all teams go through.
“You don’t mind losing, if you play hard and you compete, junior hockey you’re going to lose some hockey games, but we didn’t really give an effort so that’s something we have to correct very quickly,” he said. “You’ve got to find your own motivation. We know there’s not much time left to keep playing and even though you’re fatigued, the finish line is coming soon, you’ve got to find a way to get that motivation back.”
The next opponent for the Oil Barons has yet to be announced by the AJHL. The team is now entering a mandatory 14-day quarantine before facing their next opponent, which has yet to be announced by the AJHL.