January 31, 2014, Edmonton, AB (ISN) – A battle between two of the highest touted goaltenders in the WHL turned into whate everyone hoped it would be.
Tristan Jarry and Eric Comrie duelled with highlight reel saves – 28 and 35, respectively – as Jarry’s Edmonton Oil Kings (36-13-0-1) overcame Comrie’s Tri-City Americans (25-22-2-3) 3-1 for their seventh win in a row on Friday night at Rexall Place.
“I thought both goaltenders were outstanding tonight,” said Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal. “They made a lot of big saves, and it was great entertainment for the fans.”
Jarry and Comrie were both selected in the second round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft – Jarry 44th by Pittsburgh and Comrie 59th by Winnipeg – and have both been among the league-leaders all season in various goaltending categories. In the 2010 WHL Bantam draft, the Americans snagged Comrie with the 13th pick; the Oil Kings Jarry with the 46th, making them two of the first three goalies taken.
“They’re two top goalies in the league, and they go back and forth all the way growing up,” said Oil Kings forward Curtis Lazar. “Tristan’s a competitor and Comrie’s a competitor, and they both deserved second and third star.”
Friday marked the first WHL match-up for the pair, however, and it was Jarry who emerged victorious, stopping all but one of the 29 shots he faced, allowing a power-play goal to Brian Williams with 26.5 seconds left and the game already in hand. Comrie, meanwhile, was solid in making 35 stops, including a save-of-the-year-candidate glove save on Brett Pollock on a two-on-none breakaway.
“Comrie was quite dialed in. I think I put a couple in his chest that I’d like to have back,” Lazar said.
“Brett’s really kicking himself, missing that 2-on-0, but he’s a great goaltender for a reason, and he showed it there.”
Lazar, Lane Bauer and Aaron Irving all scored for Edmonton, with Bauer tallying in his first game since January 4.
“For a second there, I kind of forgot what it felt like to score,” Bauer said. “I guess I picked up where I left off. It’s pretty tough watching from up there.”
It was the sixth goal of the season for the Alaskan rookie, while Irving tallied his ninth and Lazar retook the team lead from Mitch Moroz with his 28th.
“We were talking about it before tonight’s game,” Lazar said. “It’s a good rivalry: we push each other in practice and it carries over into games.”
The win marked Edmonton’s first win over the Americans since February 13, 2009 and the first of Laxdal’s tenure with the team.
“We tried to use the motivation that they were 8-0-1 against the Eastern Conference,” Laxdal said. “In the four years I’ve been here, we hadn’t beaten them. I think we lost the last home game in overtime, and we haven’t had the best of luck down in that building.”
Edmonton is back in action Saturday night when they make their first visit of the year to Medicine Hat for a big divisional battle with the Tigers.