Pleau: 'The worst I've seen here'

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, Last Updated: 12:50 PM ET

The Zamboni had barely left the ice when the homeboy welcomed his ex-homies with a goal in his new barn.

After three straight losses, Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau shuffled his lineup, and Edmonton native Josh Koper got the start against Medicine Hat two days after being picked up from the Tigers.

The diminutive winger flicked a rebound up and over St. Albert's Tyler Bunz in the Medicine Hat net.

"It worked for 30 seconds," Pleau said of his changes.

The problem was the other 59-and-a-half minutes. In fact, the Tigers tied it 10 seconds later, then cruised to a 7-1 smackdown of the Oil Kings at Rexall Place last night.

"I don't know what to say. That was the worst performance I've seen here in the two-and-a-half years I've been here," Pleau continued.

Which, of course, has been the entire existence of the reborn junior franchise.

"That's unacceptable from every standpoint.We were outplayed outworked, out-competed, out-coached, out-everythinged."

That the coach had to find new words to describe the new ways the Oil Kings found to foul up their special teams, while throwing himself under the team bus, says a lot in itself.

The game was all but over by the end of the 4-1 first.

Edmonton's power play has had no problems posting zeros lately, but the PP went into the negative when the winner came short-handed at 5:23.

Californian Emerson Etem found himself alone with the puck behind the net before stepping out front and flicking it past Cam Lanigan while pointmen Mark Pysyk and Henrik Tervonen were frozen atop the circle.

A pair of PP goals by the Hat's Tristan Jackson nailed the period -- and the game -- shut in the final five minutes.

A fifth Hat goal, five minutes into the second, chased Lanigan. The Tigers slipped two more PP goals past Torrie Jung in the third, the second on a five-on-three.

A lone bright spot in the game was the play of the new combo that had five-foot-eight fleetsters Koper and Logan Proulx flanking Brent Raedeke.

"They were put together for speed," said Pleau.

"And they did a good job. Koper worked his butt off. I should personally apologize to him.

"To get beat by your ex-team like that, it's gotta hurt. But I give him a lot of credit. He played with pride."

Now Pleau has to make sure the rest of the team follows suit. It starts with a meeting this morning at 9.

"Now we look in the mirror and we start again," he said.

DAVID.CAMERON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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