The Fort McMurray Oil Barons racked themselves a big Thanksgiving Monday win with an 8-1 victory over the Drayton Valley Thunder.
Reed Morrison scored a hat trick and added an assist while Nolen Coventry and Lucas Yovetich had three helpers to improve the Barons to lift the MOB to 5th place in the AJHL’s North Division.
Head Coach Tom Keca tells Mix News it was a solid display from all 20 MOB players.
“The strength of our team is going to be in the depth and maturation of our young guys. When you get an 8-1 win, it’s easy to assume it was an easy game, but it wasn’t. We had everybody contributing, which is a positive sign.”
Keca says he’s glad he’s been able to count on guys like Morrison – who’s been an offensive dynamo.
“Reed is a leader both on and off the ice and while we hope that pace he’s setting can continue, we know he can contribute in other ways as well. He’s great with faceoffs, killing penalties. He’s a guy who is very versatile.”
Morrison has racked up 11 goals and 6 assists through nine games – which is good for 1st in league scoring.
Now the Barons (5-3-1) will look to continue their ascent up the AJHL standings with 3-games in as many days – including a matchup against the reigning AJHL champion Spruce Grove Saints.
Keca feels it will be their first big test on the season.
“For us, it’s about the process,” he said. “We just want to make sure we compete, and we do all the little things and see an improvement in our game. It’d be great to win but it’s more important for us to put forth an effort that we can be proud of after the game.”
The Barons dropped 2-of-3 the last time they played three games in less than three days but Keca says the team knows what they’re up against and will try and show a road warrior mentality.
He says Friday’s game against the Saints will be a chance to make a statement to the league.
“They’re the defending champions, it’s a tough building to play in, they play a very upbeat, tough style so, it’ll be a great challenge for us. It’s also an opportunity for us to see what kind of character we have in our dressing room. We think we know as a coaching staff but it’s up to players to be able to perform.”
Puck drop for Friday’s game is at 7 p.m. at the Grant Fuhr Arena in Spruce Grove.
They’ll also have games in Drayton Valley and Sherwood Park on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.