November 9, 2013, Kamloops (ISN) – Something about that B.C. mountain air must agree with the Edmonton Oil Kings goalies. The Oil Kings posted their third shutout in three games in B.C. Friday night, downing the Kamloops Blazers 5-0.
“We didn’t do a lot right defensively tonight. We were pretty loose,” said Oil Kings Head Coach Derek Laxdal. “We didn’t play the greatest defensive game tonight, but Tyler Santos was outstanding. He really battled for his shutout. We gave up a lot of odd-man rushes and chances, and he made some big stops.”
Santos made 33 saves to pick up his first WHL win and first WHL shutout as Edmonton ran their shutout streak to 228:10 dating back to the first period last Sunday against Calgary. The 19-year-old back-up is now 1-1-0-0 in his WHL career with a 2.85 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.
“We had a scheduled start for him and It’s hard for him–he hasn’t played many games– and to step in and play like that, shows his dedication and work ethic in practice,” Laxdal said.
The Oil Kings offence, meanwhile came in a flurry as four different goal scorers tallied in a 4:20 span in the second period to break a scoreless deadlock and give the Oil Kings a lead they wouldn’t give up.
Brandon Ralph started the scoring parade with his first career WHL goal, beating Kamloops Netminder Bolton Pouliot with a long shot. Curtis Lazar followed that up breaking in alone shorthanded for his team-leading 13th of the season, and Henrik Samuelsson and Edgars Kulda also tallied in that span.
Ralph added his second career goal late in the third period.
Edmonton killed all eight Blazers power-plays they faced on the night to run their season penalty kill to 84.5 per cent, fourth in the WHL. The Oil Kings went 0-4 on their own power plays while outshooting the Blazers 40-33.
The Oil Kings are now 6-1-0-0 on their eight-game trek away from home and 4-0-0-0 on their current road trip. The win jumped Edmonton (12-7-0-1) into third place in the Eastern Conference just two points back of Medicine Hat.
“We’ve battled hard to get back up in the conference. We didn’t have the start that we wanted, but that’s in the past now,” Laxdal said. “We’re building on this next segment, and that’s four out of four. Kids are developing and we’re getting better as a team, and that’s what we want to be doing.”
The Oil Kings will wrap up their road trip Saturday night with a visit to the B.C. Division-leading Kelowna Rockets.