Oil Kings get Kootied

CRASH CAMERON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

Two periods forward, another setback.

Two forwards playing back, and a forward turned back.

Without their leading defenceman, Mark Pysyk, and two wingers -- Cam Abney and Robin Soudek -- playing on the blueline, the Oil Kings hung with the Kootenay Ice until fading away in the third period. With the game tied at two apiece, Ice goalie Nathan Lieuwen made a stellar leg stop early in the third period off Cam Maclise with a big help from a backchecking Max Reinhart, who cleared a dangerous rebound.

Seconds later, Drew Czerwonka stuffed it underneath Cam Lanigan in the Oil Kings net. It was the game-winner and the first of three Ice goals in the third.

"We had Abney back (on the blueline) at practice (Thursday)," said Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau.

That was before the bad news about Pysyk came down Friday.

"It was just to have the big guy working on moving his feet as a defenceman, working one-on-one. So we knew he was OK.

"Soudek came in right before the game and said he was talking to his dad over in the Czech Republic, his dad used to play defence and (Soudek) said he wanted to try it.

"I thought he did a good. Both of those guys to their credit.

"We had good effort. I though a lot of guys stepped up," said Pleau. "There were some guys who could have had a little more intensity, but, overall, the structure and the work ethic was decent."

It was game on in the first, when the team's swapped goals.

The opener for the Oil Kings came at the 15-minute mark of the first. Winger Stephane Legault -- in his fourth game after his second call-up from Southside Athletic midget triple-A, where he is tied for the lead league in points -- kept the puck in the Ice zone, swooping around inside the blueline before sending it to the goal where five-foot-10 Mike Piluso banged it home past six-foot-five Nathan Lieuwen in the Kootenay net.

A minute later, a pinball effect stung the Kings, when a King -- Ice forward Kevin King, a veteran of 250-plus WHL games -- was the last to touch a puck that changed direction at least twice.

Logan Proulx grabbed a Braeden Laroque pointshot as he scooted across in front of Lieuwen and held onto it long enough to put it in the far side past a stretched-out Lieuwen. That gave Edmonton the lead under four minutes into the second.

Lack of a defensive takedown hurt the Oil Kings again when Edmontonian Steele Boomer blew past Keegan Lowe and fed it across the net to Dustin Sylvester, who tied the game with five to go in the period.

DAVID.CAMERON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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