Oil Kings centre Brent Raedeke got a close-up look at the possible future of the Edmonton Oilers last night.
An entire game's worth.
Raedeke and the Oil Kings shut down Jordan Eberle and the Regina Pats 1-0 in front of 13,765 at Rexall Place last night in a playoff-type atmosphere.
A lot of the hype coming into a playoff-spot battle for the Edmonton Oil Kings surrounded a player for the opposition.
Being an Oilers first-round pick and a star at the World Juniors for Team Canada, it's understandable.
Raedeke was ready.
"(Coach Steve Pleau) didn't say that specifically but I had a pretty good idea that I was going to be going out against him.
"I think our line did a pretty good job, obviously, shutting them down," said Raedeke, who skated mostly with Brett Breitkreuz and 16-year-old T.J. Foster on his wings, against Eberle, 16-year-old centre Jordan Weal and left-winger Matt Robertson.
"Absolutely," said Raedeke about using the attention and the big crowd for his own motivational purposes.
"We made sure Mark (Pysyk) and (Adrian) Van de Mosselaer we're out there," said Pleau on his pre-game strategy.
"With the forwards you can mix it around, see who's playing well," which is what he got out of No. 9. "When you're up by a goal with five or six minutes to go, you want Raedeke on the ice."
Raedeke said, "We all know Eberle is an Oiler prospect, a World Junior player, so we know we had to keep a close eye on him. For the most part, we did. He didn't get too many chances. When we had a lapse, Junger was there to bail us out."
Oil Kings goalie Torri Jung echoed those thoughts about Regina's No. 7.
"Obviously Jordan's a tremendous talent, a lot of skill and he can make plays. we knew that his line is dangerous. We were told to be aware of that, to be aware that you're not being sucked in by puck movement."
As the Regina shots increased in number and quality after a flat first period, Jung elevated his play to the end.
He made at least four top-notch saves toward the end of the third, for his 32-save shutout.
"Personally, I thought I was seeing the puck well, but there were no second-chance opportunities (for the Pats). Our D-men did a great job," said the WHL veteran. "One-goal hockey games like this are typical of playoff games, so it was good for us to have this one."
"I thought that was won of the best junior goaltending games I've ever seen for both sides," said Pleau, referring to his guy and Pats goalie Linden Rowat. "That was tremendous hockey."
For the second-straight game Robin Soudek was right guy-right-place (a.k.a. front of the net) on a power play, but he could have had a second when Rowat knocked his net off the pins and goal was waved off with eight minutes left in the game.
"He said the net was off before the puck was in the net," Pleau said of the offical's decision. "But I've got to talk about that one because I thought that the goal counted if it didn't have anything to do with the dislodging. There guy got caught behind the net and we had a wide open net."