By Aaron Bell
May 18 2014 – ISN – It doesn’t take long for the stakes to get high at the MasterCard Memorial Cup and both the London Knights and Edmonton Oil Kings are feeling that on Day 3 of the championship.
The host Knights dropped their tournament opening to the Val-d’Or Foreurs on Friday and the WHL champion Oil Kings lost their first game to the Guelph Storm on Saturday.
The Knights and Oil Kings meet in Game 3 on Sunday (7:00 p.m. eastern on Sportsnet) with both teams desperate to claim their first win of the tournament.
“We have to reset,” Oil Kings’ coach Derek Laxdal said after last night’s 5-2 loss to the Storm. “When we walk out of here tonight we have to start prepping for London.”
Both teams came into the tournament with question marks – although they faced polar opposite problems. The Knights have been idle since their second round playoff loss to the Storm five weeks ago while the Oil Kings had to make a quick turn-around after defeating the Portland Winterhawks in Game 7 of the WHL final on Monday.
Laxdal thinks his team has more to show than they did in their opener.
“I wouldn’t say we played our “A” game tonight, maybe a “B+” so we can get a lot better in certain areas,” he said. “That’s a positive for us. It’s going to be a big crowd here tomorrow night and we have to be ready to respond and be better than we were tonight.”
The Knights didn’t take long to shake off the rust in the opener against the Foreurs. They fired 51 shots on net but couldn’t solve Antoine Bibeau and dropped a 1-0 decision.
Knights coach Dale Hunter said that his group was ready to play after their long layoff.
“They were eager from being off for 35 days – they were ready to go,” he said. “We got a lot of rubber on them and played pretty well. We maintained a lot of pressure on them and had our chances. We just didn’t bury them. Their goalie came up big.”