by Lisa McRitchie on 05/25/12 at 11:00 AM ET
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 Oil Kings opened the tournament against the host team, the Shawinigan Cataractes by a score of 4-3 but would fall to the Saint Johns Sea Dogs 5-2 on Monday. All teams at the tournament would begin competition with a 1 and 1 record, but the Oil Kings just couldn’t get out of the losing funk.
Tuesady the Oil Kings fell to the OHL champions, the London Knights by a final tally of 4-1. And from there, it only got worse.
Facing the host team once again the Oil Kings struggled to score and goaltender Laurent Broissoit looked nothing like his former playoff self as the Kings tasted the bitter taste of their worst loss of the season, a 6-1 beat down.
While the Memorial Cup was the goal, the Oil Kings and the City of Edmonton are more than happy with the 2012 WHL title, but for those Oil Kings who are graduating this year the loss will always be a reminder of what might have been. Defenceman and captain Mark Pysyk will be looking forward to advancing his career with the Buffalo Sabres, Kristians Pelss with the Oilers and Martin Gernat could possibly be doing the same. But for undrafted Tyler Maxwell, Jordan Peddle and Rhett Rachinski aged 21, 21 and 20 respectively this is the end of the line for junior hockey and time to look forward to the unknown if they wish to pursue a professional hockey career.
Perhaps this long playoff run may have attracted enough attention from AHL or NHL teams though, there is always the chance of being picked up as a free agent.
Ryan Dittrick of EdmontonOilers.com reports of the unexpected three game losing streak and the sour note the Oil Kings’ season ends on, but the optimistic outlook coach Derek Laxdal holds for next year:
“It was an outstanding season for our group. I told them not to hang their heads, to walk out of that dressing room holding their heads high. It’s short-term competition and anything can happen, and we lost.
“Our guys deserve a pat on the back. We’ve got 20 guys coming back out of a group of 25. Our goal is to get to Saskatoon next year. We’ll be a little hungrier.”
The goal for every team of the WHL will be the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon, but with potentially 80% of his roster returning next season maybe the Oil Kings have at least a fighting chance at making the long road back to the Memorial Cup. And at the very least, they all know just how hard it is to get there and will have the memories to prove it.
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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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