It was great while it lasted but for the Edmonton Oil Kings, their post season is over. The Oil Kings had their most successful season of modern franchise history winning their division, conference and eventually the WHL before competing for the 2012 Memorial Cup in Shawinigan Quebec but the the Oil Kings would be the first team to be eliminated from the four team tournament.
The Edmonton Oil Kings may be happy just to be participating in the Memorial Cup, but the team is going to push for every win they can get.
In the opening game of the tournament Friday night, the Oil Kings blew a 2 goal lead, but eventually squeaked past the home team Shawinigan Cataractes with a final score of 4-3. Not bad considering Shawinigan is not as battle weary as the Oil Kings. While the Oil Kings had only a few days to bounce back from their 7 game series against the Portland Winterhawks, the Cataractes have not played a playoff game since losing to the Chicoutimii Saguenéens a month ago.
It was a long road and a hard fought battle, but with their 4-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks in front of 12514 fans, the Edmonton Oil Kings have earned their first modern franchise trip to the Memorial Cup.
In this year’s Memorial Cup the WHL champions, the Oil Kings will face off against the QMJHL champions the Saint John Sea Dogs , the OHL champs the London Knights and the host team the Shawnigan Cataractes of the QMJHL.
The Edmonton Oil Kings are still alive and well in this year’s WHL playoffs, but the Oilers have decided not to wait and to sign left winger Kristians Pelss to a 3 year deal.
Pelss was a 7th round draft 2010 draft pick who has helped take the Oil Kings to the WHL finals (which will begin Thursday night in Edmonton) with his scoring and defensive abilities. Pelss may not have led the team in scoring, but finishing 6th in points and 5th in goals on a team with as much depth and talent as the Oil Kings have is quite the accomplishment.
Oil Kings beat Wheat Kings 2-1
After sweeping the Kootenay Ice in the first round of the WHL playoffs, the Oil Kings had a relaxing 8 days to prepare for their next opponents, the Brandon Wheat Kings. Going into game one the biggest question was of course, would the time off hurt or help the team’s momentum. After one game, it doesn’t appear to have hurt the team in the slightest. Speaking with the players, they seemed grateful for the break and considering how hard they worked to finish first overall in their conference it seems to make good sense.
Oil Kings beat Rebels 5-2
A game that features two top ten prospects going into this year’s NHL entry draft is enough to garner attention. A Friday night WHL game featuring two top ten prospects in Red Deer is enough to attract a circus. As the scouts poured into the building, some wearing the logos of their teams, others merely with their clipboards and pens the importance of these final games became even more apparent. While the Oil Kings’ have five players that will likely be drafted this summer, it is Griffin Reinhart who has stolen the spotlight. For the Rebels, the feature player is of course Mat Dumba.
Edmonton Oil King and Edmonton Oilers’ prospect Kristians Pelss was named the Team Captain for his country, Latvia in the 2012 IIHF World Juniors Tournament. For Pelss, being the team captain, the only player drafted into the NHL, a player currently playing in Alberta, and one of the few players on the team that speaks English fluently made him a very popular man with the media. With every loss, Pelss had to field more questions than any of his teammates. And although the weight of the world looked to be on his shoulders, Pelss handled it all with grace and strength.
An even dozen, that’s how many goals Team USA managed to score Tuesday against Latvia, after a lackluster preliminary round for both teams.
For the both teams, this game was as much about pride as it was securing a position in this tournament for next year. Now, Latvia has one more game and nothing to lose.
Although the IIHF World Juniors tournament is not an NHL tournament, there are several players in the tournament who have been drafted by NHL teams. For many NHL fans, this is the only opportunity to see many of the prospects in action. Of course this is still a competitive tournament and an excellent opportunity to see the world’s best junior hockey players on display.
Here is a look at how the NHL prospects have done so far at this tournament. All stats were taken from the IIHF team statistics pages.
In front of the Calgary crowd of 12 598 on the second day of competition, it was the goaltenders for both Latvia and Slovakia that defined the game. Kristers Gudlevskis stopping 42 or 44 shots faced was named player of the game for Latvia and Jurjaj Simboch turned away 25 of 26 shots on goal to be named player of the game for Slovakia.
About Oil Patch
Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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