BRANDON, MB — There was a series of robberies at the Westman Place on Good Friday. The masked man was spotted wearing a red jersey with the number 30 on it. It’s alleged that he got away with about 43 shots.
Payton Lee was absolutely brilliant for the Edmonton Oil Kings Friday night stopping 43 of 44 shots and Brandon Baddock (2) and Brett Pollock (1) provided the offence as the Oil Kings shocked the Brandon Wheat Kings 2-1 to take a huge 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals.
“Great goaltender tonight,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton. “Payton was outstanding. You know what? We hung around and hung around. Then you get a timely opportunity and it just happens to land on your best scorer’s stick and he (Pollock) made it happen.”
The first period saw the Oil Kings weather a massive Brandon storm where the gold and white got 18 shots on Lee and generally outhit and outplayed them. But thanks to a powerplay goal from Baddock they were able to walk out with a 1-1 draw.
Baddock’s goal, his second of the playoffs, was an in-close shot off a nice Davis Koch pass while on the man advantage. Earlier John Quenneville made it 1-0 on a shorthanded marker.
The second period was a mirror image of the middle frame last night as both teams had great chances but nothing to show for it. Lee was phenomenal stopping all 12 shots including two highlight-reel saves off of a Wheat King in tight to keep it at 1-1.
Pollock had the game-winner half way through the third corralling the puck on the boards at the red line and racing in alone beating Jordan Papirny with a snapshot.
From there it was all Brandon again. They pushed and pushed but Lee and the Oil Kings did not break and walked out of Manitoba holding a commanding 2-0 lead as the best-of-seven series shifts back to Edmonton for games three, four and five (if necessary).
“I can really honestly say right now that our dressing room is team first. And that’s all that matters. Guys are willing to do what it takes.”
Lee was happy to get the win saying the team pulled together and can use this momentum going back home.
“It feels really good from a team standpoint. We came in here and wanted to get a split and went out with both. We have to keep that going into the next few games. We know they’re a number one ranked team for a reason and it’s not going to be easy but this is a good momentum for us right now.”
Game three goes at 7pm MT at Rexall Place on Wednesday March 30.