Sluggish London Knights fall 5-2 to Edmonton Oil Kings

London Knights forward Chris Tierney and Edmonton Oil Kings forward Henrik Samuelsson search for...

London Knights forward Chris Tierney and Edmonton Oil Kings forward Henrik Samuelsson search for the puck at their feet during their 2014 Memorial Cup round robin hockey game at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario on Sunday May 18, 2014. (CRAIG GLOVER/QMI AGENCY)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:49 PM ET

It took the London Knights 96 minutes and 12 seconds to score their first goal at this Memorial Cup.

Now, they have 60 more minutes to save their season.

The Cup hosts finally found the back of the net when overage defenceman Alex Basso's hard shot handcuffed Edmonton goalie Tristan Jarry late in the second period, but the Oil Kings still pushed them to the brink in a 5-2 decision before 8,863 Sunday night at Budweiser Gardens.

Latvian Edgars Kulda, a 30-goal scorer in his second major junior season, scored twice to pace Edmonton, who avenged a 4-1 loss to London two years ago in Shawinigan.

The Oil Kings ended their four-game Cup losing streak and, for the Western league, an 0-4 mark all-time in London.

The 2005 Kelowna Rockets, led by defenceman Shea Weber, went 0-3 at this same arena and Edmonton dropped their opener Saturday against the OHL champion Guelph Storm.

The Knights, who lost twice in the second round of their league playoffs to Guelph, need to beat their high-scoring Midwest Division rivals Wednesday night to stay in the tournament.

Only one host team has finished 0-3 – the 2003 Quebec Remparts, who have been awarded next year's Cup.

The Knights' failure to score until midway through their second game made it necessary to recall the least productive offences in Cup history. Guelph only scored twice in three losses in 1996 at Peterborough – one goal less than the Storm managed at the 2004 Cup in Kelowna.

But this year's Guelph team has a chance to go straight to Sunday's final if they beat Val d'Or on Monday night.

Kulda's performance is a reminder the Oil Kings have been playing this season with late Latvian teammate Kristians Pelss in their hearts and minds.

The member of the 2012 Oil Kings' Cup team and Oilers prospect passed away last June in his native country in what is believed to be a drowning. His body was recovered in the Daugava River in capital city Riga.

It's been difficult in recent years for a team to win its second Cup game on back-to-back night.

But Edmonton did it and kept the pro-Knights crowd at bay by denying London on its second penalty shot in the past two games. Jarry, a Pittsburgh second-rounder, turned aside Maple Leafs prospect Ryan Rupert on his free chance in the first period by shutting the five-hole.

Bo Horvat was stopped by Val d'Or's Antoine Bibeau, another Leafs pick, in the third period of the opener.

Rupert also ripped a shot off the cross bar early in the second.

The Knights down two goals after two periods, replaced starting goalie Anthony Stolarz with Jake Patterson to begin the third.

Stolarz, the Philadelphia second rounder, stopped 27 of 30 shots in his second start in the past seven weeks. Patterson, who finished off London's Cup run last year in Saskatoon, surrendered two goals to Luke Bertolucci in his period.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/RyanatLFPress

GAME GLANCE

Oil Kings 5, Knights 2

Edmonton goals: Edgars Kulda (2), Luke Bertolucci (2), Reid Petryk

London goals: Alex Basso, Dakota Mermis

TOUGH 'DUB'

(The Western Hockey League celebrated its first Memorial Cup win at Budweiser Gardens in five tries when Edmonton beat host London Sunday night)

May 18, 2013: Edmonton 5, London 2. Edgars Kulda sparked offence.

May 17, 2013: Guelph 5, Edmonton 2. Kerby Rychel and Tyler Bertuzzi scored a pair each.

May 25, 2005: Rimouski 4, Kelowna 3. Crosby and Co. boot Shea Weber's crew from tourney.

May 23, 2005: London 4, Kelowna 2. Corey Perry won it with a pair.

May 22, 2005: Ottawa 3, Kelowna 2. Brad Staubitz ended longest game in Cup history in 2OT.


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