The Fort McMurray Oil Barons find themselves with their backs against the wall.
Friday’s 7-1 loss at the hands of the Whitecourt Wolverines puts the MOB in a tight spot – now down 3 games to 2 in the AJHL North Division Final, with the series shifting to Whitecourt.
Head Coach Tom Keca tells Mix News he’s mind boggled by his team’s effort on Friday.
He expects the Barons to give their full effort in game 6.
“We’ve had success in their building all year so it’s not unfamiliar territory,” Keca said. “As a coach, you can use any cliché you want – ‘there’s no tomorrow, you’re back’s up against the wall’ – when it all boils down to it, the onus is on the players to make sure that we perform, that we execute and that we work as hard as we can.”
What is slightly unfamiliar territory for the Barons is that it’s the first time this post season – they’re facing elimination.
Keca says everyone will need to step it up if they hope to send the series back home for a seventh game.
“Starts with our goaltender, as a defense core – all six individuals have to perform and all of our forwards have to do the same. We’re not going to change our approach to the game, we’ve relied on 20 guys and it’s going to take us 20 guys to win two games.
Friday’s loss is just the cherry on top of what’s been a roller coaster series.
Keca knows they’ll have to be smart with the puck if they hope to knock off the Wolverines.
“We want to eliminate time and space and we want to move pucks as quick as we can,” he said. “If we try and overhandle pucks, they’re going to get on you and they’re going to create turnovers. It’s all about puck management and making sure that we fight to get on the defensive side of every battle and we fight to stay on that side and make sure that we compete until we can get pucks out.”
A Barons win on Sunday will force a game 7 on Tuesday at the Casman Centre.
Puck drop for game 6 is set for 7:30 p.m.