In hockey, seeing the numbers ‘6’ and ‘1’ on the scoreboard is only fun when it’s your team that’s being represented by the ‘6’. That wasn’t the case for the Edmonton Oil Kings, though, as the Shawinigan Cataractes tallied five unanswered goals (and one that had a weak response) in their 6-1 win over the Oil Kings tonight. Meaning: The Cataractes are going on to the Memorial Cup semi-final, and the Oil Kings are heading home empty-handed. (That is, if you don’t count the still-recent WHL Championship…)
The Edmonton Oil Kings started off their Memorial Cup run on a high note when they beat the Shawinigan Cataractes. Goals from Kristians Pelss, Griffin Reinhart, Martin Gernat and Henrik Samuelsson, coupled with the 30 saves Laurent Brossoit made were what carried the Oil Kings to a 4-3 win over Shawinigan. Today’s opponents, the St. John’s Sea Dogs, were coming off a 5-3 loss to the London Knights and were looking to even out their record. They did.
Yesterday, Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini announced he would not be renewing Head Coach Tom Renney’s contract.
He gave a press conference explaining why Renney wouldn’t be returning next season and what his thinking was behind the decision. He talked a lot about the rebuild that’s going on in Edmonton and why getting a new head coach might be another piece to that difficult puzzle.
Goals in the first and final two minutes of the opening period were the exact motivation the Edmonton Oil Kings needed to get their momentum going for Game Seven. Add two more second period goals and a stunning goaltender who only allowed one himself, and what do you get?
The Ed Chynoweth Cup and a trip to the Memorial Cup tournament.
The Edmonton Oil Kings are one win away from becoming WHL Champions. After beating Portland 4-3 in Game 5 on Friday, they’re up 3-2 in the series heading back to Portland tonight.
After sweeping their first two series and winning their third 4-1, the Edmonton Oil Kings are now in a position that’s not quite as comfortable as they’d like. After winning the first game against the Portland Winterhawks, they’ve lost back-to-back games (something they haven’t done since November) and are now down 2-1 in the series.
Through the first period, the game remained scoreless. The highlight? Keegan Lowe and Joe Morrow were being less than friendly throughout the opening frame, which eventually ended in a fight halfway through the first. Both landed punches but it was Morrow who ended up getting the edge on Lowe.
Portland dominated the scoreboard during the second period, getting on it just under five minutes in and doing it twice more on the power play at 12:06 and 12:35. Thanks to goals from Sven Barschi, Ty Rattie and Oliver Gabriel, the Winterhawks went from being tied with Edmonton at 0 to having a 3-0 lead.
Twenty seconds into the third period, it was clear that those three goals had been somewhat of a wake-up call when Henrik Samuelsson beat Mac Carruth to get his team on the board. Only minutes later, Portland’s Brendan Leipsic gave his team a three-goal lead. At 7:16, Martin Gernat cut that lead to two, and Keegan Lowe made it a one-goal game just under three minutes later. Besides the fact that Edmonton is now playing from behind in the series for the first time this playoffs, they were also dealt a casualty in Mitch Moroz, who was hit by William Wrenn during a goal celebration. He needed medical attention, but Wrenn wasn’t given a penalty. Nobody wanted to comment on it, though.
Playing from behind is never easy; the Oil Kings were given a prime example of just how tough it is tonight, and hopefully they’ll be able to do a better job of it for the series.
63 games, 28 goals and 50 points. That was what Edmonton Oil Kings forward Kristians Pelss’ season looked like this past year. He’s currently on his way to the Championship with his team, and he’s been doing his level best to help them on their way; so far he’s got four goals and three assists in ten games for the Oil Kings this postseason.
Tuesday morning, Pelss signed his name to a three-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers.
Kristians is nineteen years old, 5’11” and weighs 175 pounds. He hails from Preili, Latvia and was drafted in the 7th round (181st overall) in 2010.
“I’m very happy about it, it’s the City of Champions,” he said about his brand-new deal. “I really like it here. Some days it’s maybe a little cold, but it’s good and it feels great (to sign a contract).
“It’s all about hard work; playing a lot of games and getting the experience.”
The organization has been full of praise for Kristians, especially his fellow teammates, who he thinks of like his brothers. Here in Edmonton, he’s got a room full of best friends who were nothing but happy to hear about his deal.
The fact that it means he’ll most likely be playing in the same rink probably doesn’t hurt, either. He’s far from home, but if you add all of the support he gets here with a family back home who catch his games on the Internet and continue to be his number-one fans from thousands of kilometres away, I think it’s safe to say he gets by.
His coach weighed in on how Kristians’ game has changed lately:
“He’s got great speed, he’s got a great shot, but his overall game has developed immensely since the start of last year. He’s a big part of our penalty kill, he’s a big part of our power-play. It’s great to see him get rewarded for his hard work.”
It really is.