Oil Kings on to Calgary

CRASH CAMERON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

It could have been a rare chance for Edmonton Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau to hang out with his dad during the hockey season.

But he was having a much better time hanging out with his players in an understandably noisy dressing room after Rhett Rachinski scored the overtime winner for the Oil Kings in their one-game showdown with the Raiders in Prince Albert.

"This is way better than hanging out with my dad, I'll tell you that!" laughed Pleau. "And I'll tell them that."

Pleau's father, Larry - the GM of the St. Louis Blues - just happened to be in Edmonton while his team face the Oilers. Pleau's mom came on the trip, too, while the younger Pleau and his younger players were forced to make the long journey into Saskatchewan.

The tiebreaker game was needed after failing to get a point in two games against Red Deer on the weekend.

Seems like ancient history now as the Kings will now travel to Calgary for the second-year franchise's first playoff game.

"This is what it's all about. (My family) understands that," said Pleau.

What last night's game was about was the Oil Kings doing against the Raiders what they failed to do against the Rebels: grab a game by its throat.

"I'm so proud of our guys," said Pleau. "I think the one key to the game tonight was everybody played for us - like guys that maybe haven't had as much ice time recently. Shayne Neigum jumps out for me."

"Those guys made a difference in the hockey game because we played everybody (on our bench) and I think we tired (Prince Albert) out."

Stats reflect that.

The shot totals were even at 33 after regulation time.

The Kings outshot the Raiders 11-2 in the extra frame.

"In overtime we took it to them right from the get-go," Oil Kings GM Bob Green told Team 1260 radio. "I thought we were going to get it done before the 10-minute mark.

"On the weekend (against Red Deer) it was almost like we were trying to get a point," said Green.

"Here we had no choice. We had to win this hockey game if we wanted to move on. We played hard we went after them.

"Not that we didn't play hard on the weekend, but we were way more aggressive (last night). We got after the puck."

Which is how Rachinski put the winner past Raiders goalie Garrett Zemlak who made 41 saves in goaltender battle with Edmonton's Torrie Jung, who stopped 34.

"I saw the puck pop out from behind the net and I knew the goalie was on the other side of the post so I tried to tuck it in as quickly as I could," said Rachinski. "Fortunately for me, the goalie didn't have time to react, I'm just feeling great right now.

"It's probably one of the best feelings I've ever had in my life."

The turning point, though, came in the second.

"Thank goodness for that promo break (at the 9-minute mark)," said Pleau. "We just said, 'We're not playing loose, we're not doing the things we said we we're going to do.

"Then (Brenden) Dowd went out and hit (Ryan) Button and then (Brett) Breitkreuz hit somebody behind the net and then, all of a sudden, our bench started to believe again."

DAVID.CAMERON@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos