The Edmonton Oil Kings know they will have to lean on Alex Archibald at times this season, but last night was a little much.
Archibald was spectacular, but his team never gave him the support he needed resulting in a 3-0 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes.
"I think the guys thought it was going to be too easy tonight and this will be a big learning experience," said Archibald.
"There is no excuse. You have to go out and give it your all and that didn't happen tonight."
The Oil Kings had an opportunity to take advantage of what should have been a tired Lethbridge team, which was playing its third game in as many nights, but the Hurricanes didn't look the least bit tired.
"We just built on our weekend and we just got better as the weekend went on," said Hurricanes sniper Zach Boychuk."I don't think the three games in three nights affected us at all."
Both teams came out very slow in the first period, registering a single shot each through the first 10 minutes.
The Oil Kings got into penalty trouble in the opening frame and allowed Lethbridge to get the first momentum swing, and they didn't allow it to swing back the rest of the night.
"Our energy wasn't there. We had 15 shots and probably 12 of those didn't have any traffic in front," said Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau.
"There is no excuse for a lack of energy when you haven't played all week. It's a matter of coming in and having confidence and being ready to play and we didn't have any tonight."
Carter Bancks opened the scoring at 16:19 of the first period. His line did a great job of cycling the puck down low and Bancks cashed in on a rebound in the slot, beating Archibald over the glove.
"They had the puck all night. They only had 30 shots, but they had the puck 85% of the game," said Pleau.
After a bad first period, it got even worse in the second as the Oil Kings were only able to get three shots on net.
Archibald was very busy making 13 saves in the second period, many from point-blank range.
The Oil Kings power play has been their bread and butter in the early part of the season, but last night they didn't give themselves much of an opportunity to put the second-ranked power play in the WHL to work.
"I think we had 40 or 50 seconds of power play on our first two chances and then we took stupid penalties. We have confidence in our special teams but you're asking too much of your players when you're killing off nine penalties and you only get three or four chances," said Pleau.
Mitch Fadden scored his fifth of the season at 12:15 of the third when he broke in alone off a bad Oil Kings giveaway.
Fadden made a nice move but he fanned on the shot, which somehow found its way through the five hole of Archibald. Yahar Farmanara scored a short-handed tally just 2:20 after Fadden to round out the scoring.
NOT PHYSICAL ENOUGH
The Oil Kings looked dis-interested all night and even when they were down they didn't have a sense of urgency, lacking any physical demeanour to their play.
"They are a team that if we show up we can take the play to them physically and we just failed to show up tonight," said Oil Kings forward Brett Breitkreuz.
"We left our goaltender out to dry and Arch was there for us 100% tonight. He gave us every opportunity to win and we didn't help him."