Penalties make a point

CRASH CAMERON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

The secret is to spread out the penalties.

The Edmonton Oil Kings took two-minute penalties, one after another, all game long.

But the Lethbridge Hurricanes took two at the same time late in the third period, and that was enough to get the Oil Kings a single point they probably didn't deserve last night.

In the end, when Carter Bancks squeezed one under the pads of Torrie Jung on Lethbridge's third shootout attempt, the Hurricanes left Rexall Place with a 2-1 win.

Mark Pysyk, teeing it up between the circles during a five-on-three power play, tied it for the Kings with two minutes left in regulation.

If only the penalty killers were able to score a couple of goals.

Eight straight overall. Five in a row in the second period.

Sounds like Team Canada scoring against Latvia. But that was the Kings, parading to the penalty box.

"When you take that many penalties, it's tough to get anything going offensively," said Pysyk, who would have gladly donated a big portion or all of his PK time for more PP.

"We're in our end the whole time. It's big tying it up, but if you're there, two points is what you're always going for."

Though he saw more of it than he cared to, coaach Steve Pleau liked what he saw.

"I thought our penalty kill was absolutely outstanding," said Pleau. "But you can't take nine penalties. You give the team that chance to stay in the game."

The second period proved to be an extended workout for the Oil Kings' penalty-killing units.

In fact, it was half the period, as the Kings were hit with five consecutive minors, starting at 4:28.

Hooking, high sticking, roughing, tripping and interference all came in a row, with Brent Raedeke and Braeden Laraque getting a pair each.

Although the Hurricanes' power play (18%) is only slightly less awful than the Kings' (12%), sooner or later, something has to break. And it did, at 12:43 of the second, during the fourth of the five-in-a-row stretch.

But it wasn't really a shot that got past Torrie Jung. It was more like a baseball play.

It was a bloop single off the end of the bat by former Oil King Brent Henke that flubbed its way over the outstretched gloves of the third baseman and shortstop.

In this case, the third baseman was Oil Kings defenceman Lane Werbowski, who took a swipe at it before it floated down between Jung's arm and the crossbar.

"I didn't see it until it was right beside my head," Jung said. "We looked at the video and the shot went off Henke's head, off the tip of Werbowski's glove and past me."

Jung saw the shootout winner, though.

"It seemed like they were trying to go five-hole on the first two," Jung said.

"I wasn't expecting them to try it on the third one. It was a nice move.

"I went with him, but it just squeezed through."

DAVID.CAMERON@SUNMEDIA.CA

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GAME GRADES

OVERALL: C

Offence: D

Defence: C

Goaltending: B

Power play: C

Penalty killing: A

Toughness: B+

Effort: C

THREE STARS

1. Austen Fyten, Leth.

Took a beatdown in the opening period, but stood tallest for the 'Canes when it came to getting their best chances.

2. Brandon Anderson, Leth.

His most difficult saves came early, but he was rock solid throughout.

3. Logan Prouxl, Edm.

Gets the nod for his tireless effort on the PK.

BIG PLAY

Edmonton's five-on-three powerplay in the third only had one clear shot, but it was a blast from the centre of the circles by Mark Pysyk that tied the score.

BIG FIGHT

Austen Fyten dropped his gloves with OK defenceman Drew Nichol in the first, but it was Nichol who did all the fightin'.

NOTES

The Oil Kings were without three players called up for international duty. Michael St. Croix is with Team Western Canada, Travis Ewanyk is with Team Pacific Canada at the U-17s in Timmins, Ont., and Tomas Vincour is with the Czech Republic at the World Juniors ... Hurricanes defenceman Lucas Sbisa -- an Anaheim Ducks prospect after being dealt with Joffrey Lupul for Chris Pronger -- is with the Swiss squad in Saskatoon ... the WHL switches home uniforms for the second half of the season, so the Oil Kings were in their whites last night.

UP NEXT

Oil Kings host Brandon tomorrow at 5 p.m.


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