January 18, 2014, Prince George (ISN) – It was an inauspicious start, but a tremendous finish. Trailing the Prince George Cougars 6-2 after two periods Saturday afternoon in B.C., the Oil Kings (31-13-0-1) responded with four unanswered in the third before taking the game 7-6 in a shootout for their eighth win in their last nine games.
“We had a little chat between periods. We talked about the possibility of what if? What if we get that next goal? What if we’re able to build some momentum? and it took some pressure off,” said Oil Kings Associate Coach Steve Hamilton. “Up to that point, things didn’t go as well as we hoped, and we talked about giving ourselves a chance.”
Curtis Lazar found Cody Corbett in front of the net 2:55 into the third period and the defenceman notched his 14th goal of the season on a one-timer to cut the Cougars lead to 6-3. Just 38 seconds later, Luke Bertolucci drove hard to the net and Riley Kieser banged home the loose puck to cut it to 6-4 and put momentum squarely in Edmonton’s hands.
“At 6-2, we had no chance if we continued down that path, so we wanted to go in a different direction, and you could feel the energy on the bench building throughout that third period,” said Hamilton, who helmed the team with Head Coach Derek Laxdal ill. “We began to string together some shifts where we created some momentum. We had a real simple game plan: we wanted to pepper the net as much as we could.
“At 6-4, I looked up and I thought we still have enough time, we just need to continue to see it through. There was real excitement on our bench I think the guys really believed this was something we could do.”
Reid Petryk notched his second of the game just minutes later, and Edgars Kulda completed the comeback with just under six minutes to play, forcing a turnover in the corner, walking out and beating Prince George netminder Ty Edmonds up high.
In the shootout, Oil Kings goalie Tyler Santos-who came on to begin the third in relief of Tristan Jarry-was perfect, while Henrik Samuelsson scored the only goal, waiting for Edmonds to drop before roofing one on the deke.
“Tyler was great for us. It’s a tough spot to come into in that point in the game. I thought he just came in, was real focused,” Hamilton said. “They’ve got some excellent scorers and really talented guys, and I thought he was real patient in the shootout. He just answered.”
Santos stopped all four shots he faced in the third as the Oil Kings poured on the pressure, outshooting Prince George 13-4 in the period and 43-25 in the game. Jarry made 15 saves on 21 shots before being replaced. Edmonds finished with 36 saves for the Cougars.
Coming off an 8-0 win Friday night, the Oil Kings started the game looking for a repeat as Petryk put them on the board just 18 seconds in. From there, however, the Cougars took over, scoring four times before the horn sounded.
Lazar cut the lead to 4-2 in the first minute of the second period, but the Cougars added two more power-play tallies to establish the 6-2 lead.
“We would have a good shift, then we would give it back through an undisciplined penalty or a lack of willingness to win battles. We were a pretty perimeter team for the first half of that game,” Hamilton admitted.
Prince George finished 3-9 on the power play, which included two two-minute five-on-threes. The Oil Kings went 2-3 with the man advantage.
Petryk led the Oil Kings attack with a pair of goals, while Lazar had a goal and an assist and Ashton Sautner picked up two helpers. Petryk (8), Lazar (7), Kulda (6), Samuelsson (5) and Corbett (5) all extended point streaks.
Todd Fiddler led the Cougars with three goals and an assist, while Marc McNulty had two goals and Troy Bourke picked up three assists.
The Oil Kings will next see action Wednesday night when they return home to host the Regina Pats.