January 23, 2011
Oil Kings blow 3-0 lead
By CRASH CAMERON, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Last night’s second period between the Edmonton Oil Kings and Medicine Hat Tigers went back and forth, mixing tempo and testiness with four goals and four gloves dropped.
It proved to be the warm-up for the third. And the overtime.
Even the shootout needed extra shooters.
In the end, Medicine Hat’s Kellan Tochkin got the Tigers’ fifth goal to tie it late in the third and he was also the fifth and final shooter in the tie-breaker 0, nailing down a 6-5 win over the Oil Kings in front of almost 6,000 very entertained fans at Rexall Place.
It was just the kind of up-and-down game that keeps you on the edge of your seat, highlights and lowlights being juggled all over the ice.
The kind of game that can give a coach grey hairs.
“At the end of the day, we got a point,” said Kings head coach Derek Laxdal. “We battled without some bodies in our lineup and had some guys playing sick, but we had a chance to get two points tonight and we came up short.”
He clearly wasn’t looking at the shine of his young hounds going toe-to-toe with one of the big dogs of the conference.
“Shootouts are shootouts, we know how those go. But we had a chance to finish this off in regulation and we didn’t get it done.
“You have to be precise when you are playing the better teams in the league, because they will take full advantage and turn around and shove it you know where. And Medicine Hat is a great hockey club.”
In a reverse of Friday’s stink-out against Moose Jaw, it was the Oil Kings who had a 3-0 lead after one, with a pair of goals from newcomer Mark Reners.
But Rhett Rachinski, who set up both goals for his winger, was one who reflected the yes and Oh, No of the night for the home side.
He took a penalty in the second after Ryan Dech was munched into the boards and Linden Vey set up Wacey Hamilton on the power play to get the Tigers on the board, the first of their three in the period.
“I thought our guys played a good first period,” said Laxdal. “And then the second period … We talked about staying out of the box. Sometimes you have to take one for the team.
“Their second goal — a turnover at our blueline. Their third goal — turnover at our blueline. So we let them back in the game. And from there you have to kind of scratch and claw your way through.”
The Kings had a 4-3 lead after two, but the Tigers swarmed out for the third and tied it again.
When a pinball shot went off Dylan Wruck’s foot and past Hat goalie Tyler Bunzs with minutes left, it looked like the underdog’s night before Tochkin tied it with 1:44 left.
“We had a 5-4 lead, our forward tries to go through a body, tries a stick check, the puck doesn’t get out, it ends up in our net.” said Laxdal.
Jon Groenheyde made clutch saves in the third as the Edmonton’s firewagon hockey sometimes backfired.
“It’s tough when you get up a goal and then maybe back off a bit,” Groenheyde said. “They came out hard. They knew they weren’t going down without a fight.”
Next up? The Saskatoon Blades — an even better team.