Fort McMurray Oil Barons ready for next season after playoff loss, tough season

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The Fort McMurray Oil Barons had a rough season, but head coach Adam Manah said the team overcame obstacles that would have scared other teams.

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The regular season ended with 24 losses and 36 losses for the MOB. The team fought hard against the Sherwood Park Crusaders until the MOB were eliminated in Game 7 on March 21. The final score was 4-1.

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“The year was what it was and we took it head on. The guys never made excuses, they came to the rink ready to go,” said Manah in an interview.

Since the season started, the team was often short players because of injuries. The demands of the season combined with injuries was exhausting. Many of the athletes were rookies, although Manah points out they are now experienced after a rough season. The MOB ended the season ranked ninth in the league, fifth in the north division and first for penalties.

The MOB traded victories and defeats in a fierce playoff battle against the Crusaders. The MOB won their first playoff game against the Crusaders with a 4-2 victory at Sherwood Park Arena. The second game was a 10-1 defeat. The MOB fought back with a 3-2 victory in Game 3, which was met with a 6-3 defeat in Game 4. Fort McMurray responded with a 2-1 victory in Game 5, then was given a 4-2 blow in Game 6 before losing the final game.

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Manah congratulated Sherwood Park for their victory, but was proud Fort McMurray didn’t make it an easy one.

“We just didn’t have any gas left in the tank for Game 7. They were a better team and they deserved to win,” said Manah. “The guys never quit and worked extremely hard… We did a pretty good job of trying to set ourselves up and we should look at it as a successful first round, experience wise.”

Manah is already preparing for the upcoming season and hopes to acquire some skilled forwards throughout the summer. That process won’t start until June 1.

“Right now we’re in a pretty good spot, roster-wise and recruiting-wise. We can wait until that trade period opens and then look to make some moves,” said Manah. “Fort McMurray gave us a lot of support throughout the season and we’re going to be better. We’re pretty excited to keep building this thing and move forward.”

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