The Score - Oil Kings 3 - Ice 1
What Happened - This one was there for the taking for the Ice but for the second straight game they couldn't score a goal. The Oil capitalized on their chances, Kootenay didn't.
Highlites are here.
The Goals - After surviving the initial onslaught of the Oil Kings - actually it was more of a war of attrition to start this thing - the Ice started to carry the play and get some pressure. Some of that occurred in the last moments of the first period but an ill-advised pinch - that would be a theme for the Oil King goals on this night - by Tanner Muth in the neutral zone gave the home squad a 2-on-1. Lieuwen stopped the original shot by Curtis Lazar only to have the rebound one-timed past him by Mitch Moroz with six seconds left in the 1st period to make it 1-0 Oil... After a second period dominated by the Ice - what's that saying about opportunities looking larger after they're gone? - Kootenay again had some great chances to tie it, especially after some more sustained pressure in the third. Another ill-advised neutral zone pinch - this time by Jagger Dirk - sent another 2-on-1 with St. Croix in on Lieuwen. This time it hit a back-checking Ice defender and went by Lieuwen for a 2-0 Oil King lead... Later in the 3rd, this time after an Ice 3-on-1 that fizzled, Curtis Lazar was off to the races on another odd-man rush and stuffed in his first playoff goal while crashing the net. 3-0 Oil. All three goals off odd-man rushes.
The Lack of Goals - Kootenay had only a handful of quality chances on Broissoit tonight. Really, besides a couple of goal-mouth scrambles and a couple of rushes, it was probably one of his easier no-no's.
Tough Nite - Ice D Tanner Muth was dash-3. The top unit of Max Reinhart, Brock Montgomery and Drew Czwerwonka were all minus-2.
The PP - 0-4 on this night and continuing to fall like a rock. Not a lot of pucks to the net but the Ice had their opportunities, including back-to-back infractions by the Oil that produced a short 5-on-3 in the second. I get the whole best players on the ice thing by putting Max back on the point but I'm not sure I'd put my best playmaker and leading scorer on the point if the PP isn't producing and it isn't at 3 for 38 over the past ten games, a paltry 8%. Time to shake that thing up. It's still easy to double-shift him.
The Rookies - Earlier in the season I remarked how Sam Reinhart - taken 15th overall in the 2010 Bantam Draft - and Curtis Lazar - taken 2nd overall in the same draft - outplayed his higher picked brethren. That wasn't the case tonight. They gave Brossoit first star honours but it should've been Lazar. He was 2nd but a force tonight and the Oil's best player. Oh and a couple of weeks ago the Salmon Arm product was named Sport BC 2011 Junior Male Athlete of the Year.
The Webcast - Plunked down my 8 bucks (with tax) for the Internet broadcast knowing I was going to get a quality product from Rexall. They didn't disappoint.
Brossoit - Reincarnation of former Kelowna Rockets goaltender Kelly Guard? He doesn't move much - at 6'3" 200lb he doesn't have to - and seems to be in the right position at the right time. Discuss.
The Scratches - Luke Paulsen (shoulder - indefinite), Jeff Hubic, Jon Martin. The latter two I can see checking into the line-up in game two to offer up some more grit, though if they don't find the back of the net, grit won't win this series.
What it means - Lots of positives to take out of this effort including the fact that it was their's for the taken in the 2nd but they couldn't covert. Down 1-0, they could easily gain a split with a win Sunday.
The Media - Couple of good articles out there today. This one on Ice captain Drew Czerwonka, who played well tonight and had a lot of fire but didn't have a lot of speed. Czerwonka, an Oiler pick in 2010 (6th round 166th overall), is playing for a contract. If they Oilers don't sign him by June 1st he goes back into the draft. The same goes for Ice D-man Joey Leach, who was selected by the Flames in the same draft (3rd round, 73rd overall). And there's a good one here by the Tri-Cities Herald Annie Fowler on former Ice GM and current architect of the Tri-City Americans Bob Tory and the turnaround of that franchise. The only thing missing from the success in the desert is a championship (he's got one with the Ice), could this be the year.
Jet Comeback - Former Ice forward Ben Maxwell scored his first goal of the season to spur the Jets comeback in a 4-3 OT win over the Capitals tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive. The goal was Maxwell's first of the season who waived by the Jets and claimed by the Ducks only to be waived by the Ducks six games later and reclaimed by the Jets and sent down to their AHL farm team in St. Johns, where former Ice players Jason Jaffray and John Negrin also play.
The Shout-out - I'd be remiss if I didn't offer congrats to the Cranbrook Midget Tier II Ice who won the BC Provincial title Wednesday with 4-3 win over Langley.
Game two goes Sunday at 5PM.