Game Day Report – August 23/13

The Drayton Valley Thunder opened up their 2013-2014 exhibition season at home against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. After a busy off season by newly appointed head coach Mike Mueller, fresh faces hit the ice at main camp on Monday August 19th. The first ice time proved to show the capabilities of the boys, as well as the young talent scouted throughout last season. It was a competitive and energetic camp to say the least.
Heading into Friday's tilt with the Oil Barons, the Thunder had previously been unbeaten in their last 7 Exhibition games dating back to last season. “It was an eye opener, but most likely a good thing” stated head coach Mike Mueller after the loss. Mueller went on to state, “After going unbeaten last season in Exhibition, it makes for a good learning curve for everyone.”
The game saw the Oil Barons capitalize on the Thunder's undisciplined style of play, going 3 for 9 on the power play. Veteran goaltender Marc-Olivier Daigle stopped 13 of 15 shots in his 29 minutes of work, splitting the game with 16 year old goalie Eden Sharp. Sharp did well for his first junior hockey game, stopping 16 of 18 shots that came his way.
The lone bright spot for the Thunder was a dandy toe drag goal by veteran Nathan Smith. Smith made an end to end rush, like Bobby Orr, and ended the play with a backhand top shelf to put the Thunder within one early into the second period. Rookie forward Michael Cardinal had a great game, although he had no points to show for it, Cardinal's hustle and hard work was appreciated by the 200 fans who took in the game, taking home the Player of the Game award.
The Thunder get right back at it again tonight, August 24th versus the very same Oil Barons. The Thunder will have a newly designed lineup, as they welcome in the other half of the kids still trying to make an impression on coach Mueller and his staff.
Tickets are $5 at the door, a 7:30pm start down at the Omniplex.