Looking for discipline

CRASH CAMERON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

It was more than a tough hill to climb.

It was a Giant leap.

While Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau wasn't happy with some of the things his players did in Thursday night's 2-0 loss to the powerhouse Vancouver Giants, he wasn't ignoring positives.

The game started tentatively in the first period for both teams.

HANGING IN

With the Oil Kings, there was a sense they were just looking to stay competitive, to hang on for the sake of hanging in. To not get blown away.

The Giants looked like they were just warming up, with the intention of doing exactly that.

The Kings did lose and they did make mistakes, but they didn't give up.

"We didn't," said Pleau. "And there's no reason why we should. We're a competitive group. We believe in ourselves.

"But I don't think we had enough of that in the first. We're down 1-0 and we knew the game wasn't close to being over.

"I saw a lot of positive things. We competed hard, we matched a real aggressive team physically.

"We've got be mentally tougher with better discipline."

The Kings' penalty killers, in particular, didn't give up. They held the Giants to a single power-play goal in six attempts.

It was the number six that had Pleau upset.

"I think you've got to examine why we lost. We have team goals, one is to keep our penalties below five. And six is not below five.

"Against Vancouver, it's going to be really tough to beat them. Against anybody, really. If you're playing tight hockey games, you have a chance to win."

He pointed out Kootenay's overtime win over the Calgary Hitmen on the same night as an example of what could have been accomplished.

Subconsciously, the Giants could have been looking ahead to last night's showdown in Calgary - as the Hitmen might have been against the ice - where the No. 1 ranking in the WHL, and maybe the nation, hangs in the balance.

"No matter who you play, you've got to have discipline," said Pleau.

PLAYOFF RUN

"That's what you have to do if we're going to make a playoff run."

As for tonight's matchup, the Chilliwack Bruins aren't Giants -- but they've had the Oil Kings' number.

"They've beaten us twice already this season," said Pleau.

"We know that we have to get traffic in front of their goalie.

"We haven't had an issue getting shots. I think we had almost 80 shots in the two games.

"With Chilliwack, you just can't turn the puck over. They are a very opportunistic team and they'll jump on you."

BIG CROWD EXPECTED

Tonight's Military Appreciation Night is expected to draw one of the best - if not the best - turnout of the season.

The lower bowl was sold out as of midweek, not including the 1,200 tickets that were handed out to military families.

There are two reasons to come early before the 7 p.m. puckdrop at Rexall Place.

One is a pregame ceremony featuring the military's drum band. The other is that camouflage-coloured Oil King T-shirts - to match the camo sweaters the Kings will be wearing - will be handed out to the first 2,500 fans. The game-worn sweaters will be auctioned off after the tilt with money going to the Military Family Resource Centre at the Edmonton Garrison.

VINCOUR STILL OUT

Oil Kings forward Tomas Vincour is on the shelf and is expected to be out two to four weeks with a shoulder injury.


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