Sonne's dance fails to spark Oil Kings
Edmonton left-winger's third-period fight with Tri-City's toughest player ignites visitors rather than home team
Chris O'Leary, Freelance
Published: 2:32 am
EDMONTON - A hockey fight can often turn the tide of a game, giving a team that little boost it needs to get over the hump and pull out a tough win.
On Wednesday night, the opposite happened for the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Down 2-1 at the start of the third period, Oil Kings left-winger Brennan Sonne dropped the gloves with Tri-City Americans defenceman Mitch McColm. While Sonne won the brawl, it was the Americans who got the spark, as they rattled off three quick goals to dump the Oil Kings 5-1 at Rexall Place.
Petr Stoklasa of the Tri-City Americans celebrates his assist on a goal as frustrated Edmonton Oil Kings goalie Alex Archibald looks on at Rexall Place on Wednesday night. The Americans whipped the Oil Kings 5-1.
Shaughn Butts, The Journal
"He did a great job, he's done a great job since he got here," said Oil Kings assistant coach Rocky Thompson, who spoke in place of head coach Steve Pleau. "He has so much courage and character. He goes out there and he cares -- there's a lot of emotion there."
"He's their toughest guy and I have to do my job and I figured, 'Why the heck not?' " Sonne said of his fight. "Give the guys a little boost and see what I can do against their toughest guy."
On the play ensuing the fight, Tri-City forward Colton Yellow Horn broke in to the Edmonton zone on the left-hand side. The WHL's leading scorer then unloaded a shot on Oil Kings goalie Alex Archibald. Although the goalie got a piece of the shot, it bounced past him, giving Yellow Horn his 46th goal of the season and the Americans a 3-1 lead.
"We've always said, 'If you shoot the puck at the net, good things are going to happen,' " Tri-City assistant coach Terry Virtue said. "And that was one of those (goals). Maybe the goalie would want that back, but that's what we said to him when he came back to the bench: That's what happens when you shoot it."
The Oil Kings saw the game get further away from them after a quick pair of Tri-City goals. Left-winger Drew Reese tipped a shot from Jarret Toll on the power play at 12:17, and then a shot that was redirected twice went in off the stick of Adam Hughesman at 13:26 to make it a 5-1 game.
Craig McCallum, who scored Edmonton's lone goal on a nice tic-tac-toe play, said the fight shouldn't have given the Americans momentum.
"Our guy won and he did a really good job," he said. "It should have gave us momentum, but it worked the opposite way. That shouldn't happen."
After watching a tight game turn into a blowout, the Oil Kings pointed to mental lapses as their undoing.
"I think we did everything we had to do," McCallum said. "The only thing we could have done different was capitalize on special teams. We had a five-on-three in the first period and we could have tied it up and that would have gave us some momentum going into the second period. We just have to capitalize."
The Oil Kings had a full two-minute two-man advantage in the first period after forward Shayne Neigum was pulled down by Americans defencemen Mitch McColm and Tyler Schmidt midway through the opening frame.
With the advantage, Edmonton forward Tomas Vincour had a shot ricochet off the post, while McCallum missed a chance in front on a rebound. It was the best the Oil Kings could do against the best penalty-killing team in the WHL.
"It was very important," Virtue said of killing of the two-man penalty. "If they score one or two on that it gives a lot of momentum for their team.
"It was a big jump for us to kill that penalty and carried the momentum the rest of the game."
With two Edmonton players in the box early in the game, Tri-City forward Taylor Procyshen got the Americans on the board at the 5:42 mark of the first period. Americans forward Shaun Vey moved the puck from just outside the Oil Kings' faceoff circle over to Procyshen at the side of the net, where he banged in his 26th goal of the season.
McCallum got Edmonton back in the game at 10:37 with his goal. Clayton Cumiskey and Cameron Cepek picked up assists on the play.
Tri-City moved back in front shortly after, as Petr Stoklasa tipped in a missile of a shot from Procyshen at 16:22.
© The Edmonton Journal 2008