March 12, 2014, Medicine Hat (ISN) – For the second straight night, the Edmonton Oil Kings were severely tested, and for the second straight night, they notched a passing grade.
The Oil Kings (49-18-2-1) held off a push from the Medicine Hat Tigers (42-24-3-1) to notch a 3-1 win in Medicine Hat, leaving them one win shy of clinching first place in the Eastern Conference.
“I thought our guys really put a gutsy performance in here,” said Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal. “We know it’s two big points for us, but we control our own destiny.”
A pair of five-on-threes made the difference in the game as Griffin Reinhart ripped a wrist shot through the twine late in the second period to put Edmonton up 2-1, and Tristan Jarry stood on his head when Medicine Hat had a two-man advantage of their own to keep the lead for the Oil Kings. Jarry finished with 30 saves to record his fourth straight win.
“Jarry was outstanding again,” said Laxdal of his goalie, who picked up a shutout Tuesday night against Kootenay in a 1-0 game. “He made a couple saves in the second period on one-on-one chances, and he was there for us on the five-on-three kill in the third period.”
Luke Bertolucci scored his first goal in 23 games, and Edgars Kulda added an empty netter to provide the rest of the offence for Edmonton.
“I thought it was a great team effort, everybody’s pulling on the chain and everyone did a great job of getting a win last night. Bertolucci’s goal was huge for us to give us some energy,” Laxdal said.
Marek Langhamer made 35 saves in a losing effort for the Tigers, while Cole Sanford score the lone Medicine Hat goal with a sharp-angle shot in the second period.
The win leaves Edmonton two points up on the idle Calgary Hitmen for first place in the Eastern Conference with both teams having two games remaining. Holding the tiebreaker, Edmonton just needs just one more win or one Calgary loss in regulation to second top spot.
The Oil Kings will be back in action Saturday as they begin a season-ending home-and-home in Red Deer against the Rebels. Sunday will be Fan Appreciation Night in Edmonton as the Oil Kings wrap up their season at home with over 4000 giveaways for fans in the building, none bigger than the Dodge Grand Caravan that every adult at Rexall Place will have a shot at winning.