The Fort McMurray Oil Barons are putting the AJHL on notice after a trio of convincing weekend road wins.
With wins in Sherwood Park, Bonnyville and Lloydminster – the Barons transitioned from their winning ways of 2017 – to unbeaten in the new year.
As the Fort McMurray prepares for a five game home stand, they’ve managed to put themselves back on top in the North Division.
Head Coach Tom Keca tells Mix News the team mindset for the rest of the season is to ice the best roster possible for a championship run.
“For us, for our 20-year olds and for our loyal fans, our resolution is making sure we prepare our players to perform to the best of their abilities every single game. And if you get some luck with some with injuries and some bounces here and there, you never know what could happen.”
With three games at hand on 2nd-place Spruce Grove, the Barons have accumulated an outstanding 29-6-3 record.
That along with a four game win streak really puts a big target on the team’s back.
Despite the success, Keca feels these next few games will be crucial – as they get set to face some of the league’s top contenders.
“Whitecourt we haven’t seen up here, Grand Prairie as well. Then you’ve got two of the top teams out of the south division with Brooks and Camrose. So, this will really tell us exactly where we fit in with the teams that are gunning for a championship in the AJHL.”
Over the 3 games to start 2018, Fort McMurray has been lead by forward Reed Morrison, who’s racked up six goals in the past three contests.
That ups his season totals to 20 goals, and 23 assists, good for first on the team.
Keca however, more concerned with team play rather than individual, feels the three straight road wins is a good indication of where this team is heading.
“Never easy to play three in two-and-a-half days and for us to come up with those convincing wins against divisional opponents – which is even more important, is crucial to us. Not only did we like the results but we liked the process as well. We played extremely well all weekend and I think that’s something we can build on.”
The Barons will test their grit on Thursday at the Casman Centre, facing off against the Whitecourt Wolverines.
Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.
Curr Claims Top Defensive Player Honours
More good news for the Barons in their present, as well as their future.
Rookie netminder Chris Curr has been named the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Defensive Player of the Week.
Curr was 3-and-0 this past week, during a Barons four-game win streak that goes all the way back to last year.
Keca notes while Curr’s play has been outstanding, the starting job still belongs to the veteran Eric Szudor.
Keca calls it a ‘healthy competition’, not a controversy.
“Chris puts in all the work that he has to and for all of his hard work, he is seeing the rewards. He had a great weekend for us. It’s not one of those things where he’s getting light teams either. We have every bit of confidence in him and it is a luxury to have a one and a one-A goaltending tandem.”
The Barons young netminder currently leads all AJHL goalies with a .939 save percentage and is second with a goals against average of 1.94.