LONDON, ONT. — The Edmonton Oil Kings outplayed and outshot the Val d’Or Foreurs but it was the QMJHL squad who came away with the lengthy double overtime victory Tuesday night, 4-3 in the final round robin game for both teams.
Early in the second OT frame, a pass hopped over Griffin Reinhart’s stick in the offensive zone and Val d’Or’s Anthony Richard raced to the puck, all alone on a breakaway. He shot five hole on Oil Kings netminder Tristan Jarry for the winning goal.
BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY | POST-GAME
“Right now, we know our fate. The kids are tired. Both teams battled hard,” said Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal. “Both goaltenders played pretty well, I thought, but at the end of the day I thought we deserved the better fate.”
Shots on goal were 50-33 in favour of the Oil Kings.
“Give them credit, they stuck to it. They’re an opportunistic team,” said Oil Kings captain Griffin Reinhart after the game. “We gave them some opportunities at times and they took advantage of it.”
Edmonton now awaits the result of Wednesday night’s game between London and Guelph. If London wins, the Knights will play the Oil Kings on Thursday night in the tiebreaker game. If Guelph wins, Edmonton goes straight to the semifinals where they will have a rematch against Val d’Or on Friday night.
“It’s not good to say, but we’re almost comfortable in this position. We never want to be here but we always respond well,” said Reinhart. “(Whether we play Thursday or Friday), we’re going to come out strong in our next game. Every game is a Game 7 now.”
Oil Kings took the lead about six minutes into the game after some hard work behind the Foreurs net by Curtis Lazar got him the puck. He then fed it in front to Reid Petryk for the quick release and goal.
Less than a minute after Edmonton’s goal, Maxime Gravel took a penalty for Val d’Or, giving Edmonton the game’s first power play. The Oil Kings built off of their late power play goal against London and scored another after moving the puck very well.
Lazar drove to the net and tapped in a cross-ice feed from Ashton Sautner at the top of the crease to make it 2-0 for the Oil Kings.
With 11:51 to go in the first, Mads Eller took a holding penalty to send the Foreurs on their first man advantage. Edmonton’s penalty killers did a great job limiting Val d’Or’s chances, culminating with a shorthanded breakaway by Edgars Kulda. Kulda was impeded from behind on the breakaway, resulting in the third penalty shot of the tournament.
On the penalty shot, Val d’Or goaltender Antoine Bibeau made a nice pad stop to keep it 2-0.
“We got out to an early lead and didn’t think we were playing all that particularly well, but I think that penalty shot miss by Eddie Kulda might have been the change in the game,” said Coach Laxdal.
Bibeau made another nice save off a point-blank scoring opportunity from Oilers prospect Mitch Moroz with eight minutes to play in period one.
With 2:56 to go in the opening frame, Val d’Or got one back. Ryan Graves took a shot from the point that is deflected by Shawn Ouellette-St. Amant and found its way into the back of the net found its way into the back of the net.
“You look at their first goal. We had complete control but instead of bringing it out weak side, no traffic, we bring it out strong side, turn it over and it’s in our net,” said Laxdal.
Cody Corbett received a cross-checking penalty in the final minute to send Val d’Or on their second power play of the game.
Final shot count in the period was 14-9 for Edmonton.
Oil Kings came out of the gate strong to start the second, outshooting Val d’Or 7-1 through the first five minutes of the period.
Val d’Or’s Jeremie Fraser took a penalty with 11:48 to play in the period, sending Edmonton on the power play.
Just over a minute into the man advantage, Val d’Or’s Pierre-Maxime Poudrier got a shorthanded breakaway and made no mistake, firing a shot past Jarry to tie the game up at 2-2.
“You talk about the game being a game of bounces, you look at their second goal, hits a broken stick bounces by (Ashton) Sautner, goes in on a breakaway and scores,” Laxdal remarked.
Final shot count in the period was 29-14 for Edmonton.
Oil Kings registered the first five shots in the period, outshooting Val d’Or 34-14 in the game to the 45-minute mark.
Bibeau made a stunning save off Brett Pollock on a point-blank scoring opportunity but Edmonton continued to press. At the end of his shift, Pollock spotted Henrik Samuelsson streaking up the middle of the ice. Samuelsson scooped up the puck and broke in alone, shooting glove side to give Edmonton the lead once again at 3-2.
Val d’Or had yet to register a shot in the third period by the midway point but after that, they started to press for the equalizer.
With 4:11 to play, Val d’Or tied the game on a quick turnover in the corner and quick feed to Samuel Henley in front. Henley made no mistake, slipping the puck just inside the right post for the goal.
“The third goal, we thought there should have been an icing call on the play, there wasn’t and then Griff (Reinhart) misses the clearing attempt and it ends up in our net,” Laxdal stated.
Shots on goal after three periods were 41-22.
The Oil Kings rang a shot off the post early in the OT frame.
8:16 into OT, Val d’Or’s Nicolas Aube-Kubel took a penalty for high sticking, giving Edmonton a power play opportunity to end the game but the Foreurs were able to kill it off.
Pietroniro rang a shot off the post from the right circle in what was Val d’Or’s best chance of the period. The Foreurs came on strong in the latter half of the OT frame.
After one overtime period, shots on goal were 50-31 for Edmonton. Each team had nine shots in the period.