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Game Three – Edmonton Oil Kings vs. London Knights
2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup Round Robin
With both teams at 0-1 records, it’s clear how important this game would be for both teams. A win and you’re guaranteed to advance beyond the round robin, a loss and you only have one more chance to advance. The game opened up physical between the two teams. However, the Edmonton Oil Kings would gain a 5 on 3 power play after Josh Anderson (Columbus) ran Edmonton goaltender Tristan Jarry (Pittsburgh) at full speed creating the two man advantage. While the Knights were able to kill off the penalties, seconds after the Anderson penalty expired Reid Petryk (Free Agent) roofed a shot from the point to give the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. London would get their own power play opportunity but was quickly negated as discipline became a big concern for the Knights. While last game the concern was not hitting the net with their shots, tonight they are hitting the net but shooting it right into Jarry’s chest.
Discipline continues to be the theme for this game as London’s Dakota Mermis (2014 NHL Re-Entry) took a penalty after time expired to allow the Oil Kings’ with a power play to start the second period. Edmonton’s discipline was not much better as a penalty 200 feet from their own net gave London an opportunity to tie the game, but could not find the back of the net. Not long after the Oil Kings’ killed their penalty, Edgards Kulda (2014 NHL Re-Entry) cut across the middle in the offensive zone and utilized a quick release on the shot to put Edmonton up 2-0. London refused to give up and after a few solid rushes defenseman Alex Basso (Free Agent) utilized his massive slap shot, got it past Tristan Jarry, despite the Edmonton goaltender getting a piece of the puck to give the Knights’ their first goal of the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup ending a 96 minutes and 12 seconds goalless drought at this event. London had the crowd roaring and all the momentum in the game and a few scoring chances with it. However the Oil Kings’ would score late in the second period on a bit of a fluky goal courtesy of the hard work of Edgards Kulda who kept battling for a puck was able to bang it past Anthony Stolarz (Philadelphia) to regain the two goal lead going into the intermission.
Entering the third period, trailing 3-1 the Knights needed to strike first. To try and shake things up and get the boys going, the team switched to goaltender Jake Patterson (2014 NHL Re-Entry) in what London Knights head coach Dale Hunter referred during the post-game as an attempt to “shift the momentum.” The Knights came out hard pursuing the puck and looking for that second goal. After several good attempts, but no goals to show for it, Luke Bertolucci (2014 NHL Re-Entry) flies down the wing and wires a laser top shelf to really take the air out of the Knights and gain a 4-1 lead for the Oil Kings. London continued to battle with a big hole to overcome in the final period and on a delayed penalty, Max Domi (Phoenix) circled the offensive zone then wired a wrist shot off the pad, jammed loose by Chandler Yakimowicz (2014 NHL Eligible) who did an excellent job screening Jarry on the original shot, then finished off by Dakota Mermis (2014 NHL Re-Entry) to bring the deficit back to two. London carried a lot of momentum through the following minutes looking to bring the goal differential to one. With all the momentum on their side, Michael McCarron (Montreal) throws a big punch at an Edmonton Oil King player forcing the official to call a penalty against the Knights with just 3:22 on the clock. The Oil Kings’ made McCarron pay for his undisciplined punch on the scoreboard as Bertolucci scored his second of the game cutting across the crease and beating Patterson to put this game away and give Edmonton a 5-2 victory over London.
HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM THREE STARS OF THE GAME
First Star, Edgards Kulda, Right Wing, Edmonton Oil Kings
After going undrafted in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Kulda has come back to the Oil Kings and made a great impression on the team. He was a leader on the ice tonight for the Oil Kings using his size and strength to finish checks, protect the puck and power his way to the net. His intelligent positioning and powerful shot lead to the first goal, and his excellent work ethic helped create his second goal of the game. Kulda is a good skater for his size which allowed him to take the puck up ice a few times, as he did on his first goal.
Second Star, Luke Bertolucci, Right Wing, Edmonton Oil Kings
Bertolucci is one of the smallest players on the ice on any given night, but has one of the biggest hearts. This was on display tonight as he consistently pressured the puck carrier, used his speed and determination to provide an excellent forecheck, but also backchecks hard. He isn’t intimidated by bigger opponents either. His work ethic helped break up scoring chances for the Knights, then in the third period he showed his offensive side by wiring a picture perfect shot early to give his team a three goal lead, then scored again in the final minutes on the power play to add two goals in addition to his excellent work ethic tonight.
Third Star, Tristan Jarry, Goaltender, Edmonton Oil Kings
After a bit of a shaky performance on Saturday against the Guelph Storm, Jarry recovered well. Tristan was selected 44th Overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and was the second goaltender taken in that draft. Jarry showed what the Penguins’ liked in him so much tonight with strong composure. He tracked the puck well and did an excellent job on London’s odd man rushes. He recovered well on rebounds for the most part and handled the puck well for the most part.
Under the Radar Performance of the Game
Mads Eller, Left Wing, Edmonton Oil Kings
After a bit of a frustrating performance with the infamous bank off Rychel and in last game, Eller rebounded well and took his frustrations out on the Knights’ finishing checks, battling for loose pucks and displaying intelligent positioning. Mads was an impact on the Kieser/Bertolucci line and while his stat line is completely blank, his performance and work ethic really helped create opportunities for his line; which had 2 of the 5 goals for Edmonton tonight.