Edmonton, AB. — The Edmonton Oil Kings ran their playoff winning streak to five games Friday night by beating the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings 2-1 in the opening game of their Western Hockey League Eastern Conference Semi-Final series.
The Oil Kings, who swept the defending champion Kootenay Ice in the opening round of post season play last week, built up a 2-0 second period lead and then hung on for a 2-1 victory before over 8,000 fans at Rexall Place.
The Wheat Kings, who were outshot 47-29 including 34-14 through the first two periods, were outplayed through the first forty minutes but thanks to the stellar netminding of 18-year old Corbin Boes, the score was still close entering the final frame.
Brandon fired fifteen shots on Edmonton goalkeeper Laurent Brossoit in the third, but only veteran defenceman Brodie Melnychuk was able to beat him and get the Wheat Kings to within a goal near the midway point of the period.
The loss snapped Brandon’s playoff win streak at three games and marked the first time in three years that the Wheat Kings have dropped the opening game of a playoff series.
Kristians Pelss and Dylan Wruck scored the goals for the Oil Kings, who won the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy this year by finishing the regular season with a league leading record of 50-15-3-4.
“We had a few days off there between games and I think we had a little bit of rust,” Melnychuk told Bruce Luebke on CKLQ’s post-game show, “I think we knocked that off in the third period and I think we really showed what we’re capable of…we just have to play a full 60 that way so I think we’ll be fine.”
Trailing 2-0 after two periods, the Wheat Kings juggled their lines and assistant coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk told CKLQ that seemed to have made a difference.
“We gave them some new looks. We have the ability up front to change things and sometimes you have to make that.”
The Wheat Kings will be hoping to salvage a split this weekend when they take to the ice again Saturday for game two of this best of seven series. Following that game, the teams will travel to Brandon for games three and four scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Westman Place.