by Lisa McRitchie on 04/26/12 at 11:00 AM ET
It was great while it lasted. More than great, it was nearly record setting but most importantly it was an Edmonton sports team garnering positive national attention.
The Edmonton Oil Kings had not lost a game since February 22nd when the team fell 6-4 to the Kootenay Ice, a streak that lasted 22 games and was enough to earn the boys mention by a Bob Mackenzie tweet. Because all of the Oil Kings are avid hockey fans with NHL dreams the tweet seemed to excite many players more than the 22nd win itself. But all of that came to an end Wednesday night when the Oil Kings dropped a 5-1 decision to the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The Edmonton Oil Kings winning streak has brought them all of the way to a three game lead in the WHL Western Conference semifinals and are now just one win away from the WHL finals. Should the Oil Kings take the WHL title it will be for the first time in modern franchise history and will of course earn them a trip to the Memorial Cup.
This team is deep with talent featuring draft pospects for the Calgary Flames (Laurent Brossoit G), the Buffalo Sabres (Mark Pysyk D), the Carolina Hurricaines (Keegan Lowe D), Edmonton Oilers (Travis Ewanyk C, Kristians Pelss LW, Martin Gernat D) and the New York Rangers (Michael St. Croix C) as well as some talented players who could go on to have professional careers outside of the NHL. After a year like this however, there may be some free agent signings from this Oil Kings’ team.
There are also 5 Oil Kings that have been ranked by central scouting and could be added to the list of NHL prospects; Griffin Reinhart, Mitchell Moroz, Henrik Samuelsson, Ashton Sautner and Cody Corbett.
No matter who has had to miss games due to the World Juniors or injuries the team has continued to find scoring and shutdown their opponents. In a league where any game is winnable, that is quite the feat.
Even more impressive when you note that only one single Oil King is in the top ten for WHL playoff points, but only just barely. Curtis Lazar leads his team and squeaks in at number 10 with 15 points in 12 games. This isn’t saying that the Oil Kings aren’t as talented as say the Portland Winterhawks who have 4 players in the top ten, but rather that the Oil Kings do have scoring by committee and throughout the entire roster. They have also played the least number of games of the five teams that make up the top ten list.
I’m still sure that the team would rather take their past two series sweeps over the extra games and chances to earn points.
Image via Oil Kings twitter feed
The one loss is not a setback, and it will ensure another home game Friday night at Rexall Place on the ice that has recently been updated to honour this team with an Oil Kings logo replacing the Oilers logo. Some may feel that the change that took place Wednesday may have jinxed the team, but really the Moose Jaw Warriors are themselves a talented team.
If nothing else, the hockey fans in Edmonton will be treated to another playoff game something the Oilers have not been able to deliver but will hopefully do once again soon!
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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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