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Edmonton Journal article (Tigers bring halt to Oil Kings win streak)

December 3 2008 at 6:23 AM
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Response to Vancouver Sun article (Giants on different paths to worlds)

Tigers bring halt to Oil Kings win streak

Edmonton still unable to solve Medicine Hat, dropping 13th straight

By Collin Gallant

December 3, 2008 4:01 AM

MEDICINE HAT - Would No. 13 prove lucky for the Edmonton Oil Kings?

Well, they rang three pucks off the posts on Tuesday, and then the Medicine Hat Tigers rang up win No. 13 in their 13th meeting with the second-year WHL franchise.

The teams actually combined to hit six posts in a close first period, before the Tigers pulled away to win 7-2 at the Medicine Hat Arena.

Travis Dunstall scored twice for the Tigers, linemate Brennan Bosch and Sean Ringrose counted two assists and the Tigers stopped Edmonton's four-game winning streak.

"It was good to get some goals," said head coach Willie Desjardins, whose Tigers (17-8-2-3) were coming off a down effort in a 3-2 weekend loss to Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Oil Kings continue their road trip in Lethbridge tonight with a game against the Hurricanes (14-12-0-1). They sit at 13-15-1-3 after the loss.

"I don't think that was a 7-2 game," said Desjardins. "I mean the shots were close (28-27 in Edmonton's favour). The scoring chances were close and they hit a bunch of posts."

Yes, they did.

Oil Kings winger Brett Breitkreuz hit posts in the opening and closing minutes of the first period. Mark Pysyk hit another in a bang-bang flurry with Breitkreuz and then Tigers goalkeeper Ryan Holfeld came up with a huge stop on the rebound shot from Edmonton's Craig McCallum.

Meanwhile, the Tigers led 2-0 after 20 minutes and then held a 4-0 lead midway through the second, as Dunstall and Tyler Ennis scored on a pair of two-on-one rushes. Tigers defencemen Jace Coyle and Matt McCue added goals.

Breitkreuz scored his 14th of the season early in the third, closing the gap to 4-2, but that's as close as it would get.

Less than three minutes later Tigers winger Linden Vey and Dunstall scored goals 62 seconds apart to quell any comeback.

"We made a lot of mental mistakes; I don't think it's a question of us working hard," said Breitkreuz, whose team lost 4-3 and 3-2 in shootouts to the Tigers in early November. Including their expansion season of 2007-08, the Oil Kings are 0-9-1-3 all-time against the Tabbies.

"The two shootout losses were ours to win," said Breitkreuz. "Obviously, they kind of have our number right now and that's something we want to change."

Dunstall opened the scoring at 11:36 of the first by sinking a great two-on-one feed from Ringrose.

It was the start they needed.

"We talked about that coming in, about how nobody was happy with how we played against Brandon," said Dunstall, whose team was outplayed on Saturday night at home following a seven-day layoff.

Five minutes later Coyle took up a power-play position in the Oil Kings' slot and banged home a rebound past rookie goaltender Cam Lanigan after a heavy point shot by Tomas Kundratek.

Early in the second period Ringrose and Tigers captain Bosch were cycling the puck deep in the Edmonton zone. With players gravitating to the one side of the ice, Ringrose sprung a pass to the far point from where Matt McCue hammered a shot into the Edmonton cage.

The Tigers made it 4-0 on another two-on-one rush, with sniper Tyler Ennis depositing a shot over Lanigan's shoulder from below the faceoff circle.

Rhett Rachinski got Edmonton on the board with a five-hole shot that slipped through Tigers goaltender Ryan Holfeld.

But quickly Vey tapped home his 10th of the season from between the feet of Lanigan. Dunstall scored another unassisted, and Tristan King added a late marker.

Ryan Holfeld made 26 saves in the victory, while Lanigan was saddled with all seven goals facing 27 shots.

The Oil Kings were 1-for-5 with the man-advantage. The Tigers were 1-for-2.

Jeff Lee assisted on both Edmonton goals.

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

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