The Fort McMurray Bantam ‘AA’ Oil Barons are undefeated no more.
The Bantam Barons dropped their first losses of the season two weekends ago – falling to Whitecourt 4-1, followed by a 3-1 loss to St. Albert.
Their third game in as many days resulted in a 5-5- tie to the PAC Broncos pushing their record to 3-2-2 on the season.
With the Barons now sitting 4th in their division – they have some ground to make up and hope fortune favours them after two weeks off from game action.
Head Coach Keith Breen tells Mix News that despite the strong start, an undefeated season was out of the realm of possibility.
“These guys have played hockey before so they’re not going to have a perfect season. Nobody expects that, I know I certainly don’t. What we do expect is that we learn from our losses or mistakes so that it doesn’t happen again, or we can avoid it happening as often.”
While Breen has been impressed with the overall depth of his team thus far, he’s still awaiting a big offensive outburst.
Through seven games, nine players have at least four points – lead by Maddox Parker and Ben Therrien with seven.
After a couple of weeks to get refreshed – Coach Breen hopes certain players will bring their games to the next level.
“They’re starting to understand that it’s ‘all-hands-on-deck’,” Breen said. “This team needs everyone to play and perform to have success and we’re stopping the watching game some of us used to play and players are getting involved. Everybody has been a big part of our success.”
The Bantam Barons are back at it this afternoon – taking on the Fort St. John Flyers to kick off a weekend doubleheader at Frank Lacroix arena.
Puck drop for today’s game is 3:45 p.m. while game two gets underway tomorrow at 8 a.m.
Peewee’s Proving To Be No Pushover:
It’s back to business for the Fort McMurray Peewee ‘AA’ Junior Oil Barons – as they hit the road.
The Peewee Barons last played October 22nd and as a result they now sit one point behind Grande Prairie ‘Minhas Bros Trucking’ Knights – whom they face this weekend.
Despite having the last couple of weeks to get refreshed, they still boast an impressive 4-0-2 record – good for 3rd in their division.
McFatridge says following their hot start, a nice long break for his boys was warranted.
“I think having a bit of a break is a really good thing for them,” McFatridge said. “We play a lot of hockey, on the ice maybe five days a week and having a couple of extra days is really helpful. Ended up also having a couple of extra practices this week so it’s been a balance.”
Offense has not been a concern for these kids either, as at least seven players are averaging at least a point per game.
In just six games, Fort McMurray has racked up an impressive 40 goals – while 1st place Grand Prairie has been limited to just 32 in 9 games played.
They can leapfrog to the top of their division with at least one win against either of their Grand Prairie opponents this weekend.
With three games at hand on Grand Prairie – Head Coach Sean McFatridge wouldn’t be surprised to see his team back on top be the end of the weekend.
“I think we have a good chance,” he said. “Grand Prairie from what I’ve seen in the standings has a pair of good teams, but I think if we just stick to what we’ve been doing, we’ll be fine.”
Game 1 will be this afternoon in Grand Prairie against the “Boston Pizza” Knights with puck drop at 3:15 p.m.
The second game against the “Minhas Bros Trucking” Knights takes place Sunday morning at 10:15 a.m.
Midget MOB Look To Regain Momentum:
The Midget Barons have been struggling through this past month, although like the Bantam and Peewee squads have been resting up these past two weeks.
They are currently sitting at .500 – after splitting their last weekend doubleheader with the Lloydminster Vandals.
After a couple weeks to get refocused, the 4-4-1 Barons look to break out of a bit of a slump as they get set to host the NEBC Yukon Trackers for a doubleheader this weekend.
Fort McMurray fell on the road to NEBC 4-2 in their last meeting and have won just one game since that matchup.
Head Coach Dan Hodgson knows they’ll have to improve their discipline and penalty kill heading into the doubleheader.
“Realizing these are kids and they’re working their butts off and doing the best they can. They still got to keep the game simple, as well. It’s a double-edged sword where you slip to far into the complex side of the game or you can keep it simple and just work as a team.”
The Midget Barons kick off their doubleheader against the Trackers tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Frank Lacroix Arena.
Game 2 is tomorrow morning at 10:45 a.m.