The Fort McMurray Oil Barons are starting the new season on a high note, picking up two road wins in Grand Prairie, over the weekend.
Both games against the Storm were close affairs, winning each by one goal, 3-2 on Saturday and 6-5 on Sunday.
General Manager and Head Coach Tom Keca tells Mix News the players were a bit “sloppy” but nothing surprising. He says the coaching staff was able to get a good read for the younger players.
“It was an opportunity to evaluate some players, we were a little short staffed up front in terms of injuries and some guys got kicked out so to put our younger players in those tight situations is going to pay dividends as we go on through the rest of the regular season.”
Though the rookies were asked to play bigger roles, the veterans really shined in the first two games. On Sunday, newly acquired Reed Morison scored a hat-trick while Will Conley was able to light the lamp twice.
“Reed scored some great goals, probably had two or three other great opportunities,” added Keca. “Will was a threat all night, had two, but also could have had a couple more.”
He also highlighted the play of goaltender Eric Szudor. Through two games, the third-year player has a goals against of 3.50 and .875 save percentage.
“I thought on Saturday he didn’t need to be spectacular but made the saves when he had to, to be quite honest – he was not at fault in any of the goals yesterday (Sunday) as well, we just had too many odd man rushes, too many breakdowns in our defensive zone.”
Before their next game, Keca adds the team will be working on improving play inside their own zone.
“In the first month, we work on skill development – the system work will eventually take care of itself.”
The Oil Barons will play in their home opener on Friday, September 22, at 7:30 a.m. against the Lloydminster Bobcats.