2012 Mastercard Memorial Cup
Shawinigan, QC (ISN) – The Edmonton Oil Kings will be forced to play an extra game at the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup. Edmonton dropped a 4 – 1 decision to the London Knights Tuesday night to finish up the round robin segment of the tournament with a 1 – 2 record.
The Knights jumped out to an early 2 – 0 lead and added some insurance in the second plus and empty netter to earn their 2 – 1 record at the tournament. Edmonton will now be slotted into the tie-breaker game coming up Thursday and face the daunting task of winning 3 games in 4 nights for a chance to win major junior hockey’s Holy Grail.
“We were fighting ourselves as much as the other team out there tonight.” said Oil Kings Head Coach Derek Laxdal “We have to do a better job of showing off who we are and representing the Western Hockey League.”
“They’re not seeing the team that we are. Definitely not. 100 per cent. We’re playing like we’re waiting for an invitation to join the game. We’ve earned the right to be here and we’re not showing that. We’ve got to show what we did this regular season to get here. It’s not a mistake we’re here, we’re just playing like it is.”
The Oil Kings were back on their heels early after a miscue behind their own net. A turn over lead to the game’s first goal, on the game’s first shot from the Rupert brothers of London. Matt found his brother Ryan alone in the slot and he was able to trickle one through the pads of Laurent Brossoit just 77 seconds into the hockey game.
The Knights would add to their lead before the period was through after another turnover by Edmonton. This time the Oil Kings were guilty of coughing up the puck at the London blue line. That created a slow developing 2 on 1 that was finished off by Bo Harvat.
Edmonton survived a few London powerplays in the opening frame and managed to get on the board with a buzzer beater from Keegan Lowe. Henrik Samuelsson nearly scored with about 30 seconds to go in the period and then did all the work on the final surge for the Oil Kings. He found Lowe pinching in on the play for a quick strike with just 2.6 seconds to go for a potential momentum changer.
The Knights really started to clamp down the neutral zone in the second period resulting in almost no scoring chances for half the period. The Oil Kings finally broke through the defence when Travis Ewanyk found some room and rang a wrist shot off the post. The Knights immediately responded with an odd man rush the other way. Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Greg McKegg was able to pounce on a rebound and bury his first of the tournament to give London a 3 -1 lead heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation. Another stifling third period and empty net goal sealed the victory.
The Oil Kings will finish the round robin portion of the tournament with a record of 1 – 2 and will now be forced to play a tie-breaking game against the loser of the game Wednesday night between the host Shawinigan Cataractes and the Quebec Champion and defending Memorial Cup Champion Saint John Sea Dogs. The tie-breaker game is scheduled for Thursday May 24th at 5:00 p.m. Edmonton time.
Two teams in tournament history have clawed their way back from the tie-breaker game to make it to the tournament final. In 2002, the Victoriaville Tigres managed to pull that off only to succumb to the eventual champion Kootenay Ice. In 2009, Taylor Hall and the Windsor Spitfires accomplished the feat and won the first of two straight national titles.
Edmonton fans can catch all the action on Rogers Sportsnet at the official Memorial Cup Headquarters of the Oil Kings in Edmonton at Earls Clareview. (13330-50 St.) The restaurant will be showing all Oil Kings games at the MasterCard Memorial Cup. Fans will have a chance to win some great prizes and receive some terrific menu specials just for wearing their Oil Kings colours and supporting their team.