by Lisa McRitchie on 02/09/12 at 04:00 AM ET
The Oil Kings have taken all three games against the Hitmen at home, and after falling behind the Hitmen early in the first period, it looked as though the Hitmen may take all of their home games. But, hockey is a funny sport, and you often need to see the full sixty minutes.
It was a sloppy game for both teams. Goaltenders were tested, defenceman were up and down the ice, but in the end, it was Edmonton Oil King goaltender Laurent Brossoit who faced 32 shots who would walk away with the win.
On the other end of the rink, the both Hitmen defenceman saw ice time. CHL top prospect Chris Driedger was pulled after allowing 7 goals on 24 shots making way for Brandon Glover to play the final 22 minutes.
There was shockingly only one fight in this WHL battle of Alberta, one between Oil King defenceman and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Keegan Lowe and Hitman defenceman Collin Bowman. Lowe lost his helmet, but otherwise it was a fairly even fight that the referees broke up, not allowing the competitors to fully tire themselves out.
Although there was only one fight, there were two hat-tricks for two Edmonton Oil Kings. First star of the night TJ Foster. Foster of course attributed his high scoring night to “Playing with two good linemates in [Henrik] Samuelson and [Stephane] Legault and we played pretty good tonight. I got lucky on the third one but I’ll take it.”
The second hat-trick went to Tyler Maxwell. Unfortunately for Maxwell his game differed from Foster’s in that Maxwell served two penalty minutes and finished the game even, while Foster was a +2.
This win meant a lot to the Oil Kings. “It was a four point game and they’ve been on a bit of a hot streak as of late.” Noted Foster “We lost here our last game, so we wanted to come in and get the win and that’s what we did. We kind of had a slow start, but we kind of picked it up in the second and never looked back.”
Oilers prospect Martin Gernat looked more like his happy self following his team’s win. Despite the multitude of penalties served by each team, Gernat was a plus 4 on the night and had two assists.
I had an unfortunate incident where I forgot to hit the record button while speaking to Gernat, but he felt that his team really came to life in the second period. They didn’t want to drop a second game to their division rivals Calgary Hitmen, and the 3 second period goals in approximately 3 minutes gave the team the focus to finish the game with the win.
The other Oil King and Oilers’ prospect Kristians Pelss is currently serving the second game of a three game suspension for a hit Pelss landed on Aaron Borejko of the Red Deer Rebels on Friday night in Edmonton.
Recent addition Henrick Samuelsson earned only 1 assist, but was all over the ice. Samuelsson is a tough competitor and a very physical player who doesn’t shy away from the dirty areas of the ice. He has a quick first step and is able to read the play well. Samuelsson came over from Sweden to play more games in anticipation of this year’s entry draft. This is yet another Swede that should make an NHL team very happy.
Griffin Reinhart is another Oil King who is especially anticipating this year’s NHL entry draft. Reinhart will go early to mid first round and because he is a big body who is solid defensively. He never seems to be out of position and is able to use his size well, never allowing it to slow him down. Reinhart may not have all of the media attention that Dumba has, but Reinhart may be NHL ready before Dumba.
For the Hitmen, this was their second loss to a division rival this week. At this point of the season, every game counts that much more, and so the loss was especially hard to take.
“We weren’t very sharp,” commented Hitmen head coach Mike Williamson. “I think just a lot of break downs that we haven’t seen in a long time. A lot of guys just weren’t making good decisions or executing and Edmonton’s got some guys that can finish if you give them those chances.”
Of course you have to credit the Hitmen for their battle level. The team was down 7-3 by the end of the second period, but they came back in the third to score two more.
“I’m really proud of how hard this group has played and how far we’ve come in the last couple months.” Williamson noted. “We have been there, tonight we weren’t and we’ll just roll our sleeves up, get back to work tomorrow and be ready for a big game Friday.”
The Hitmen will not make way for the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL farm team of the Calgary Flames, to host the Oklahoma City Barons Thursday night. The AHL battle of Alberta will actually be played in Alberta, giving both NHL teams’ fans a chance to have a look at their futures.
The “baby Oilers” and “baby Flames” will be in town Thursday, but these are not them.
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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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