The Fort McMurray Oil Barons continue to roll after winning three games in four nights.
The Barons capped off their weekend with a 5-0 shutout win over the Olds Grizzlys – pushing their win streak to five.
Goalie Eric Szudor made 23 saves to pick up his first shutout of the season while Ryan Cox lit the lamp for a hat trick to push the Barons to 10-1-1 on the season.
Reed Morrison and Will Conley each tallied goals while Taner Miller was the dish master, racking up three assists.
Head Coach Tom Keca tells Mix News his team has played like road warriors all season long, to remain undefeated away from the Casman Centre.
“You’re not sleeping in your own bed and there are a lot of intangibles that you can’t control when you’re out on the road. So, for our players to respond and come up with three wins this weekend is huge and hopefully it’ll help give us that foundation as the season progresses.”
Now sitting atop the AJHL standings, Keca they’ll get refreshed and refocused during their six-day break.
“It’ll give us an opportunity as a coaching staff to look at Calgary, come up with a game plan and assess what areas we need to shore up. Obviously, our powerplay is still struggling a little bit but we will utilize our practice time this week to make sure our boys are ready to go for next weekend.”
While special teams has been lukewarm, defense and net minding has played a significant role in the early season success as the Barons have allowed just 23 goals through the first 12 games.
That’s the lowest in the AJHL.
Keca says much of that success is related to the stellar play of Szudor and his backup Chris Curr.
“Eric is a 20-year-old who’s cemented his name in the organization as one of the best goalies in the league and Chris is a guy who’s proven he can handle the job of pushing Eric for this year and hopefully being the future number one as we move forward the next couple of years.”
The 10 wins in 12 games marks a climactic improvement from an Oil Barons squad that struggled to get wins in Keca’s first year behind the bench.
That’s an improvement Keca credits to his players.
“All of our players know what it means to be good Oil Barons on the ice and off the ice so what we’re doing now is reaping the rewards of all the hard work from that year. That’s something we hope to continue. Obviously, we want to be one of the top teams each year, whether it’s winning games or getting guy to the next level – that’s just something we strive for.”
After six games in eight nights, the Barons get their six day break before they take on the Calgary Mustangs next Friday at the Casman Centre.