Oil Kings lose control

Members of the Edmonton Oil Kings and Red Deer Rebels mill about during Saturday's game in Red...

Members of the Edmonton Oil Kings and Red Deer Rebels mill about during Saturday's game in Red Deer. (Ryan Frankson, Special to QMI Agency)

CRASH CAMERON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:07 AM ET

RED DEER — There was lots of action in Game 2 between the Edmonton Oil Kings and Red Deer Rebels at the Centrium last night.

The Oil Kings spent the last half of the game chasing the Rebels around their barn in a 5-1 loss.

Too bad it had more to do with the referees chasing the rules than the teams chasing each other.

There were questionable calls on both sides, but what was clear was that the officials couldn’t discern what was and wasn’t a penalty.

The obvious result was melee after melee as the players stopped tuning into the clown show.

But Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal was more concerned about his team’s game getting out of control.

“We were undisciplined. We didn’t understand that it was going to be an emotional game. You’ve got to be able to control your emotions or they will control you.

“We nullified two power play opportunities (by taking penalties). We lost Chinner for two, five and 10,” Laxdal said of Rhett Rachinski dropping gloves after Red Deer’s Matt Dumba just missed decapitating Kristians Pelss.

“There’s a difference between getting in a guy’s grill and going in and being an instigator. You can’t do that in the playoffs.”

And it would’ve helped if the power play could have controlled the puck when the baffling decisions did go Edmonton’s way.

The decisive goal came after three different Oil Kings couldn’t decide who should start the rush on a power play, so Red Deer’s Brett Ferguson — a beast on the forecheck all night — decided he’d send the puck to Adam Kambietz in the slot for the 3-1 short-hander.

“It’s 2-1, we have our top five guys out there on the power play and it’s just unacceptable to turn over a puck like that,” said Laxdal.

“Then it’s a 3-1 game and that’s the difference. They didn’t have 104 points for nothing. They take advantage of their opportunities.”

While it became less clear as to what a penalty was and wasn’t, what constitued a boarding call? And was it right to call Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for diving, or should it have been diving and a tripping on Keegan Lowe?

Still, said Laxdal, his players lost their cool.

“We’ve got to play smarter. You can’t step across that edge. You can’t step across that edge like we did tonight or you’re going to shoot yourselves in the foot.”

The opening goal for Red Deer also set a tone.

Guess who? Who else?

You’re right — it was Andrej Kudrna again. The Slovak set up that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins guy to open Game 2 just like he did on the winner in Game 1.

Kudrna swooped around behind the Oil Kings net and in two blinks it was onto Nugent-Hopkins’ stick and in behind Jon Groenheyde.

Yes, that same offensive weapon that has NHL and WHL fans talking, was left untouched in front of the net.

Nugent-Hopkins didn’t score again, but still earned attention while guys like Fergsuon and Kambietz (2 G, 1 A) did the trick.

“We were just sharper (than Game 1),” said Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin.

“We were pretty tentative at times, but we got better. Wingers we’re making better decisions, our D was controlling the puck better and we got our feet moving.”

david.cameron@sunmedia.ca


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