Fort McMurray Oil Barons optimistic as 2023-24 AJHL season gets underway

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Head coach Adam Manah is optimistic for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons now that the 2023-24 season has begun. Manah is happy with the quality of both the seasoned and new players on this year’s team, although there are some challenges ahead.

The MOB have six players returning from last season. The rest of the team is a combination of rookies and trades. Some promising additions to the team were injured at the start of the season, but are expected to hit the ice soon. The team is still meshing together, said Manah, but the athletes are making progress on growing into a cohesive team.

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“It’s just a little bit up and down so far as we try to find consistency,” said Manah in an interview. “It looks promising. We’ve got some great players, we’re just working on getting everybody in sync.”

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The MOB lost 5-2 to the Sherwood Park Crusaders during their first exhibition game. They bounced back with a 4-3 victory against the Spruce Grove Saints. The MOB suffered a 5-2 defeat to the Bonnyville Saints and a 3-1 loss to the Lloydminster Bobcats. However, the MOB fired back with a 7-4 victory over Lloydminster.

The team is doing well with power plays this season and Manah said growth in this area is better than what was seen last year. The team is also working on tightening their defensive play.

“We’re relying on the guys to use their creativity and their skills to make plays. We’re scoring goals and that’s a good sign as well,” said Manah. “It’s a feeling out process. We’re teaching as much as we can day-to-day and hopefully it will continue to get better.”

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