December 15, 2013, Edmonton, AB (ISN) – The Edmonton Oil Kings just keep on rolling. Luke Bertolucci scored his first goal of the season and Lane Bauer notched his third in three games as the Oil Kings (23-9-0-1) won their ninth straight game with a 4-0 victory over the Saskatoon Blades (10-23-1-2) Sunday afternoon at Rexall Place.
Edmonton has now won 18 of their past 21 games to vault themselves to the top of the Eastern Conference despite missing five players to the World Juniors.
“It’s a big win for us,” said Oil Kings Head Coach Derek Laxdal. “We want to continue to push here at home when we’re missing a lot of guys out of the lineup, but it’s good to see kids stepping up. … That’s what it’s all about.”
Bertolucci opened the scoring just 2:11 into the game, stealing a puck in the neutral zone and beating Saskatoon Netminder Troy Trombley five-hole for his first of the season. Cole Benson also tallied his third of the year for the Oil Kings before the end of the first period, which saw the Oil Kings outshoot Saskatoon 21-2. Bauer and Reid Petryk added goals for the home side in the third to round out the scoring.
“A lot of guys are stepping up. We have to kind of have to – I want to be one of those guys too — with Lazar and Samuelsson gone,” Bauer said.
“I think that speaks to our organization as a whole because … the depth guys are starting to produce and we’re still winning games,” Bertolucci added.
Jarry recorded 27th saves for his 11th win in a row. The 18-year-old goaltender has not lost since November 9 in Kelowna. He now leads the WHL in wins (22), shutouts (4) and goals-against average (2.05). He’s third in minutes (1757) and fifth in save percentage (0.923).
“I thought I played pretty well tonight and the guys gave me a good chance to stop everything,” Jarry said. “You have to stay focussed, even if you only face two shots in the first period.
Trombley stopped 38 of 42 shots despite being briefly pulled after Benson’s goal. Backup Alex Moodie stopped all six shots he faced in six minutes of action as the Oil Kings outshot Saskatoon 48-27.
Edmonton will be back in action Tuesday night as they wrap up their pre-Christmas schedule against the Victoria Royals.
NOTES: Chance Patterson and Davis Koch both made their WHL debuts for the Oil Kings Sunday. Patterson was a fifth round selection in 2012, while Koch was the teams’ first pick (42nd overall in the second round) this spring. Oil Kings forward Edgars Kulda had two assists as Latvia defeated Poland 5-0 at the World Junior Division IA hockey championships in Poland. Mads Eller picked up a helper in Denmark’s 3-1 win over Austria.