October 6, 2011
Oil Kings crowned in OT
By DAVE 'CRASH' CAMERON, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oil Kings looked like ‘ranger’ did in those Kootenay-like beer commercials: they weren’t getting nothing, no matter how hard they tried.
But the Oil Kings invoked the law of probabilities: do good things for long enough and you just might get ‘yes’ for an answer. And, yes, the Kings crowned the defending WHL champion Ice in a 2-1 shootout win at Rexall Place Wednesday night.
“It was a tough game for us to get anything going,” said Kings head coach Derek Laxdal about a game that looked to be as exciting as watching a DVD retrospective on the New Jersey Devils.
“They did a great job on the penalty kill. We scored that 4-on-3 goal to tie it up, but that’s the way Kootenay plays. They shrink the ice in the neutral zone and look for turnovers. I didn’t think we adjusted very well in the first half of the game.”
In the end, it was testing the law of probabilities that sunk the Ice.
As awesome as the Kootenay penalty kill is, it was tested one too many times.
On their 10th man advantage of the game, Kings winger T.J. Foster shelved a power-play goal at 13:28 of the third period to tie the game at 1-1. He went on to score the shootout opener.
The tying goal was Foster’s second attempt from the same spot. In the second period, Ice goalie Nathan Lieuwen iced Foster with his left leg.
“On that one power play, (Dylan) Wruck threw it on net and I got the rebound. But (Lieuwen)’s 6-foot-5, so his legs are pretty long and he got across. But I was making sure I got that next one,” Foster said, with the satisfaction of burying his second chance showing on his face.
Foster and Martin Gernat beat the outstanding Ice keeper while another B.C.-born goalie, — the Kings’ Laurent Brossoit blanked both Max and Sam Reinhart.
Gernat’s goal was a shootout beauty that showcased all of his 6-foot-5 reach.
“Sometimes in training I practise it so it was really nice,” said the Slovak. “It was a really hard match. Kootenay plays real good.”
Laxdal doesn’t jump up and down after wins. Not on the outside.
“We kept the scoring chances down and when L.B. had to make a save he made a save. And when we had to have a big penalty kill on that five-minute major in the third, we killed it,” said the coach. “And you’ve got to give Mitch Moroz credit. He went out and got into his first fight and sparked our team a little bit. And, at the end of the day, that’s a big W for us.”