The Thunder came into Saturday's game versus the Fort McMurray Oil Barons chomping at the bit to play in front of the hometown faithful. The party kicked off with a BBQ earlier in the evening, which saw friends, family and fans alike come out to support the Thunder. After the player introductions and a ceremonial puck drop by MLA Dianna McQueen, the game was on.
In the first period the Thunder impressed the 639 fans that packed the Omniplex on this night with their hard work and energy, living up to the team's slogan “Feel the Energy”. The building was alive for the duration of the period, especially when veteran goaltender Marc-Olivier Daigle made multiple stops on a Oil Barons 5 on 3, keeping the score 0-0 heading to the second.
The middle stanza saw a flurry of shots by the Thunder towards goaltender Jesse Gordichuk, 12 in total for the period. The Thunder opened the scoring on an early power play by hulking forward Tanner Clarkson. The Kelowna native scored his first goal as a member of the Thunder. 8 minutes later the Oil Barons struck shorthanded after a missed pass at the blue line caused a 2 on 1 and after a scramble, the Oil Barons scored to tie it. The Oil Barons would then get 2 more goals in the period despite being outshot, taking a 3-1 lead into the third.
The third brought more of a defensive style of play from the Oil Barons, protecting their lead and capitalizing on some Thunder mistakes. The first one came only 29 seconds into the third period, as Barons captain Jetlan Houcher scored his first of the season, then 9 minutes later the Barons scored after rookie Micheal Cardinal went off for elbowing. The Oil Barons proved to be too much for the Thunder on this night, even though the boys played hard to try and impress the hometown faithful, with a final score of 5-1. The Oil Barons improved their record to 4-0 with the win, while the Thunder have dropped their first four games and are still in search of their first win.
The Thunder have a week of practice to get ready for a back-to-back home stand starting on Friday September 20th against the Sherwood Park Crusaders. Game time is 7:30pm at the Omniplex, make sure to get your tickets as the boys look to bounce back and put one in the win column.