Post Game Wrap Up: Saints drop 3-2 decision to split weekend series with Oil Barons.
By: Adam Kulak
The Saints battled back from being down 2-0 but would lose a heartbreaker tonight here at the Casman Centre. A late Powerplay goal from the Oil barons would lift Fort McMurray to a 3-2 win, splitting the weekend series with the Saints. Some lineup changes for a back to back, as Ryan Harker, Reid Schaefer and Stanley Cooley would draw back into the lineup. After Matt Davis and Chris Curr battled it out last night, Evan Fradette for the Oil Barons and Max Duchesne would each get the start in goal tonight.
You can make the case that the Saints were the better team in the opening period. They got off to a good start with some strong forechecking and came close several times to opening the scoring. They had to kill off an Oil Barons Powerplay over halfway through the period and then were given an opportunity right after the previous penalty expired.
Things were going good so far in the period, but one big misread would end up costing the Saints. They would give up a shorthanded marker as Ty Budai opened the scoring for Fort McMurray on the breakaway.
The Saints tried to respond right away with a few good looks around the net, but they couldn?t get a lot through and they couldn?t beat Evan Fradette. The Saints outshot the Oil Barons 10-5 in the period, but they wouldn?t manage to break through as it would stay a 1-0 game after 20 minutes.
Fort McMurray would extend their lead to 2-0 just over 2 minutes into the period. The Saints would lose Ty Budai out front and he would finish the backdoor feed for his 2nd of the game.
There started to get heated a little bit as there were more penalties in the second period. The Saints would get another Powerplay opportunity at the 6-minute mark of the period. They didn?t score on the Powerplay, but they managed to capitalize just after the penalty expired.
Adam Hall would get the puck to Jordan Biro coming in off the left wing and he would slide it over to Stanley Cooley on the doorstep. Cooley would get his 1st of the season, completing a nice passing play as the Saints finally find the scoresheet.
As I said before, things started getting heated late in the period. Ethan Edwards would get crosschecked in front of the Saints net and Ryan Harker and Max Struss would drop the gloves in a spirited scrap.
Both teams would find the back of the net in the period as Fort McMurray once again holds a one goal lead. The Saints outshot the Oil Barons 12-5 in the middle frame but only found the back of the net once. They will look to keep generating chances to find the equalizer in period #3.
It wouldn?t take long in the third for the Saints to tie this game up. 2:29 into the period, Nick Leyer would throw a shot on goal from the circles and it had eyes, finding its way through Evan Fradette. That would be Leyer?s third in two nights as the Saints come back to tie this game up.
The Saints had two chances in the first half of the period but their Powerplay would continue to be snake bitten, going 0/9 on the weekend. It started to look like this game would go the distance, but later in the period, the Saints would take two costly penalties putting the Oil Barons on a 5 on 3 Powerplay. They would kill off the first minor but halfway through the second, Ryan Conroy?s point shot would find its way through a screen as Fort McMurray took the lead right back.
This time they would keep the lead, the Saints had one more Powerplay with 2 minutes to go and tried to tie the game back up. It came down to the final seconds, but the Fort McMurray Oil Barons would hang on for the 3-2 victory on their home ice.
The Saints played an alright game tonight, but it was a few costly lapses that ended up burning them. Giving up a shorthanded breakaway, losing their man backdoor and taking two late penalties in the third. They couldn?t finish enough of their chances and going 0/5 on the Powerplay is not making things easier on themselves.
The Saints will look to get back in the win column Friday night, as they welcome the Whitecourt Wolverines on October 11th. Puck drop is 7:00 pm back at the Grant Fuhr Arena.