Oil Barons win weekend games, lead AJHL standings

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The Fort McMurray Oil Barons continue their winning streak after beating the Spruce Grove Saints in both weekend games. The MOB currently lead the AJHL standings, with the Okotoks Oilers in second.

On Friday, the Oil Barons got the home game started with forward Hunter Lamb scoring less than four minutes into the first period. The team continued to dominate the first period with five more goals.

The first period also saw the Spruce Grove Saints get on the scoreboard with a goal from forward Jake Aston. The Saints scored another goal from forward Brett Pfoh towards the end of the first period, but trailed the Oil Barons 6-2 heading into the second period.

The MOB continued leading with a goal from forward Hassan Akl one minute into the second period. Another goal each for the Oil Barons and Saints left the scoreboard at 8-3 for the Oil Barons by the second intermission.

A third period goal from the Saints was not enough to slow the Oil Barons, who scored two more goals to secure a 10-4 win.

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The two teams were back on the ice Sunday afternoon in Spruce Grove. A goal from Spruce Grove Saints forward Luigi Benincasa gave the Saints the lead for the first time all weekend. But, Oil barons forward Michael Hodge tied the game with a goal three minutes later.

The second period was dominated by the MOB, who scored all three goals. With no scoring in the third period, the Oil Barons headed home with a 4-1 win.

Oil Barons head coach Gord Thibodeau said a big factor in the team’s recent success has been adding speed and attacking the offensive, giving them a lot of scoring chances.

The Oil Barons are currently leading the AJHL standings, with the Okotoks Oilers second in the league and the Whitecourt Wolverines second in the Viterra AJHL North Division.

After COVID-19 regulations paused the AJHL season last November, Thibodeau said the team is happy to be playing while keeping everyone safe. Even though it’s not a regular season, Thibodeau said the expectation is to try winning every game.

“It’s like they’ve been given a second or third chance here to get going. I think they’re just so thankful to be playing,” he said. “I think that’s what we’re seeing now is we’ve got a very motivated group. They want to keep playing, they love playing and they love being together, so that’s definitely something that’s helped.”

The Oil Barons and Saints play their last two games against each other this weekend, before breaking and changing cohorts. It has not been announced who they will be grouping with next.

lbeamish@postmedia.com

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons celebrate a goal against the Spruce Grove Saints at the Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines
The Fort McMurray Oil Barons celebrate a goal against the Spruce Grove Saints at the Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines
Fort McMurray Oil Barons Goalie Evan Fradette reaches out to make a save against the Spruce Grove Saints at the Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines
Fort McMurray Oil Barons Goalie Evan Fradette reaches out to make a save against the Spruce Grove Saints at the Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines
Fort McMurray forward Jesse Burchart brings the puck around Spruce Grove Saints goalie Thomas Couture to score on a penalty shot at the Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines
Fort McMurray forward Jesse Burchart brings the puck around Spruce Grove Saints goalie Thomas Couture to score on a penalty shot at the Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines
Spruce Grove Saints forward Luigi Benincasa tries to take the puck from Oil Barons forward Ethan Anstey at Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines
Spruce Grove Saints forward Luigi Benincasa tries to take the puck from Oil Barons forward Ethan Anstey at Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines
Fort McMurray Oil Barons forward Jesse Burchart carries the puck up the ice at the Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines
Fort McMurray Oil Barons forward Jesse Burchart carries the puck up the ice at the Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines
Fort McMurray Oil Barons defenseman Brendan Wang pushes past Spruce Grove Saints defenseman Brophy Dunne at the Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines
Fort McMurray Oil Barons defenseman Brendan Wang pushes past Spruce Grove Saints defenseman Brophy Dunne at the Centerfire Place on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Dan Lines

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