The Fort McMurray Oil Barons took a stranglehold on their AJHL North Division semi-final series with a 4-3 victory over the Lloydminster Bobcats Tuesday night at the Centennial Civic Centre Arena in Lloydminster. After falling behind early in the opening frame, the Barons would battle back to tie the game before the first intermission and got a third period goal to seal the victory.
“A win’s a win,” said MOB head coach Gord Thibodeau. “Come playoff time they can’t all be pretty but sloppy, good character coming back.”
The intensity of the series bubbled over into the first period as the two teams combined for six goals on 26 shots.
Kyler Wilkinson started the scoring 45 seconds into the game, giving Lloydminster their first lead at home this series. Braden Crone scored on the power play a few minutes later to double the Bobcats’ lead. Adam Durkee scored the Barons at 11:40 of the first to get the Barons on the board, but less than five minutes later Austin McDonald scored his sixth goal of the playoffs to restore the two goal lead for the Bobcats.
Mitchell Vanderlaan and Brennan Saulnier added goals in the final three minutes of the first to tie the game at three after one period of play.
Neither team would score again until Louis Joseph Sawyer’s point shot beat Christopher Tai at 9:18 of the final frame. Sawyer's third period goal was the difference as the Oil Barons took a commanding three-to-one series lead.
Tanner Jaillet made 30 saves in the victory for the Barons.
Game five of the series is set for Saturday night in Fort McMurray at the Casman Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m.
By Robert Murray/Fort McMurray Today
Photo credit: Robert Murray/Fort McMurray Today