(ISN) – EDMONTON, ALTA. – Try as they might, the Edmonton Oil Kings couldn’t find a tying goal Sunday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Down 3-2 in the third period, Brandon Baddock had the apparent equalizer waved off. Andrew Koep had a redirection from the high slot go off the post, off the back of Brandon netminder Jordan Papirny and get covered just as it slid towards the goal line. Tyler Robertson and Edgars Kulda both had point-blank chances taken away by a sprawling Papirny. And in the end, the Wheat Kings hung on for a 3-2 victory at Rexall Place and 2-1 series lead.
“I like the way our guys pushed. We pushed right to the end,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton. “Our guys played hard tonight; I’m very proud of our group, proud of the way they kept at ‘er, and thought we did a ton of positive things tonight.”
“After a loss like that, it’s disappointing a bit, but we know that we played pretty good. We played hard and couple of lucky bounces for them, a couple of bounces that didn’t go our way and here’s the score of the game,” said Oil Kings forward Edgars Kulda.
Baddock came closest to netting the elusive tying goal as he drove the net on Papirny midway through the third period and had his first shot stopped, rebounding high into the air, only to have the puck bounce off his chest and into the net. After a lengthy review, the goal was waved off because Baddock was deemed to have propelled the puck into the net with his chest.
“The explanation I was given was that it was a redirection, rather than a deflection, and it was propelled into the net,” Hamilton said.
“Hands are tied: you can’t glove it in, you can’t high-stick it in, you can’t use your feet, so I tried to use my body,” Baddock added. “They said … I kind of directed my shoulders into it, and obviously that’s not allowed.”
Brandon took the lead late in the first period as John Quenneville’s centring attempt went off an Oil Kings defender and past Tristan Jarry.
Edmonton responded in the second period as Davis Koch scooped up a blocked shot in the slot, kicked it to his stick and fired the rebound past Papirny for his first career postseason goal. Less than five minutes later, Ben Carroll ripped a wrist shot top shelf on the power play to put the Oil Kings up.
Brandon struck back early in the third period, however, as Jayce Hawryluk and Macoy Erkamps both scored in the first six minutes to restore the Wheaties’ lead.
From there, the Oil Kings piled on the pressure, but couldn’t put one past Papirny, who finished with 41 saves for the victory.
“He made a couple of good saves and a couple of really really crucial saves for them,” Kulda said. “I feel like we need to keep putting pucks on him. He has his weaknesses like all goalies, and we have to expose them.”
Tristan Jarry made 26 saves in the Edmonton net. Carroll finished with a pair of points for Edmonton, while Luke Bertolucci picked up an assist for his third point in as many games this series.
Edmonton and Brandon will square off again in Game 4 Tuesday night at Rexall Place, with puck drop scheduled for 8 p.m.