April 26, 2013, Edmonton, AB (ISN)- The Edmonton Oil Kings are one win away from the WHL Final after defeating the Calgary Hitmen 5 – 1 Friday night at Rexall Place.
The largest crowd in the entire WHL playoffs of 11,088 witnessed the Oil Kings turn in a dominating performance to take a 3 – 2 series lead in the Husky Eastern Conference Championship Series.
Edmonton jumped out to a 3 nothing lead in the first period with goals from Martin Gernat, Henrik Samuelsson and Travis Ewanyk and turned in a stellar defensive performance holding the Hitmen to just 19 shots over the final 40 minutes.
Oil Kings acting Captain Keegan Lowe was asked if it was Edmonton’s most complete defensive games of the playoffs.
“I definitely think it could have been one of them. We didn’t take too many penalties there, so we didn’t have to have our penalty killers out there too much tiring the guys out. But other than that, we locked it down in the d-zone, I think they only had four shots in the second period.”
When the Hitmen did start to generate shots in the third period, Edmonton’s Laurent Brossoit turned in another solid night with 28 saves for his 11th win of the playoffs. Michael St. Croix tallied in the third period and Curtis Lazar added an empty net goal for Edmonton. Brooks Macek notched the only Hitmen goal with 4:56 left in the third period.
It was good news, bad news on the injury front for the Oil Kings as they welcomed back defenceman Cody Corbett to the lineup but subsequently lost the services of Trevor Cheek to a lower body injury midway through the first period. Oil Kings Head Coach Derek Laxdal reported that Cheek was taken out for precautionary measures and could play again as early as Game 6. Laxdal says depth on the roster this time of year is crucial.
“Give the guys credit for stepping up and helping out. I thought we did a really good job of capitalizing on our chances early in the game, and then when we lost a few players, I thought our guys did a good job of just defending and keeping the score at 3-0 for most of the game.”
The Oil Kings will look to close out the series on the road in Calgary on Sunday. Game time from the Scotiabank Saddledome is set for 4:00 p.m. You can catch all the action on Edmonton’s sports radio the TEAM 1260. The entire 2013 Husky WHL Eastern Conference Championship series between the Edmonton Oil Kings and Calgary Hitmen will be televised LIVE on SHAW on Channel 304 and SHAW Direct Channel 299 throughout Western Canada.