Oil Kings lock down Giants

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February 8, 2014, Vancouver (ISN) – At the end of a long road trip, the Edmonton Oil Kings came up with a lock-down performance.

The Oil Kings (40-13-0-1) shut down the Vancouver Giants (27-21-6-3) in a 5-1 victory Saturday night in Vancouver, allowing just 16 shots on goal on the way to the team’s 11th straight win.

“We finished the road trip off the right way,” said Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal. “Give the kids credit: it was a tough long road trip with some tough games. It was tough for our guys to kind of get going tonight, I thought some of our top-6 guys struggled a bit, but we did enough to win.”

Edmonton got another strong performance from their penalty kill, which killed off all seven Vancouver power plays, while Tristan Jarry made 15 saves for his league-leading 35th win of the season. The Oil Kings controlled the puck for much of the game as they outshot the Giants 27-16.

“I wouldn’t say it was our best defensive game, but we did a good job of protecting the front of the net, clearing loose pucks and not giving away odd-man rushes,” Laxdal said.

Curtis Lazar opened the scoring for Edmonton in the middle of the first period as he broke into the Giants zone and snapped home a shot from the top of the left circle for his 30th of the season.

Thomas Foster tied it up with a shorthanded goal for the Giants, but with three seconds left in the first and the Oil Kings on the power play, Lazar won an offensive zone faceoff and Edgars Kulda ripped the puck past Vancouver goalie Payton Lee to give the Oil Kings a 2-1 lead.

From there on the Oil Kings locked the game down, as Dysin Mayo, Brett Pollock and Brandon Ralph added insurance goals as the team finished 2-7 with the man advantage. Cody Corbett extended his point streak to six games with an assist on Pollock’s goal, while Jarry picked up his first point of the season with a helper on the same score.

“Consistency is a big thing. You look at the young kids: Brandon Ralph stepped up with a couple points, Lane Bauer, Cole Benson, so everybody’s a part of it and it’s just a team effort,” Laxdal said of his team’s success over the last 11 games.

The Oil Kings wrapped up their final trip of the year to B.C. with a 4-0-0-0 record and maintained their lead atop the WHL Eastern Conference, staying five points up on the Calgary Hitmen, who beat Kamloops Saturday, with two games in hand.

Edmonton is back in action Wednesday night when they host the Prince Albert Raiders at Rexall Place. Then on Friday, they’ll host Red Deer on Mark Pysyk bobblehead night.

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