Oil Kings advance after sweeping Wheaties
By Chris O'Leary, Edmonton Journal
April 12, 2012 4:04 AM
Oil Kings win best-of-seven Eastern semifinal 4-0
They Edmonton Oil Kings are halfway there.
A 6-0 drubbing of the Brandon Wheat Kings on Wednesday night completed the sweep for the Oil Kings and launched them into the semifinal round of the Western Hockey League playoffs.
The win improved Edmonton to 8-0 in the playoffs and situates the team eight wins away from the Ed Chynoweth WHL championship trophy.
The win came over a depleted Wheat Kings team. Brandon played without captain and leading scorer Mark Stone (123 points this season) and Michael Ferland (96 points). Both were injured and didn't suit up.
The Oil Kings struck early and often in the opening frame, building a 4-0 lead that led to Brandon's third major loss of the night, in goaltender Corbin Boes.
He got the hook 14: 51 into the contest after allowing four goals on 15 shots. Backup Brandon Anderson played the remainder of the game and had a strong performance, making 22 saves in 44: 22.
Henrik Samuelsson, Mark Pysyk, Travis Ewanyk and Martin Gernat all scored in the first period to quickly put the game out of reach and deflate a half-packed house at Westman Place.
Gernat added a second goal in the middle period and T.J. Foster capped the Oil Kings' scoring late in the third.
Laurent Brossoit picked up his second shutout of the playoffs, stopping 24 shots.
Edmonton will face the winner of the Moose Jaw Warriors-Medicine Hat Tigers series. The Warriors went into Game 4 on Wednesday night with a 3-0 lead.
The Oil Kings got what they wanted out of the gate, when Samuelsson one-timed a shot home at 2: 50, finishing a setup from linemates Stephane Legault and Curtis Lazar.
Boes' best efforts couldn't keep the Oil Kings off the board. Big saves like the one the 18-year-old made on Michael St. Croix with the game at 1-0 couldn't come often enough.
The Oil Kings continued to press and took some more wind out of Brandon's sails with a short-handed beauty of a goal from captain Pysyk at the nine-minute mark. Pysyk started the drive, creating a turnover in the defensive end and set up a give-and-go with T.J. Foster. Pysyk got the puck back and beat Boes on a pretty deke, tucking a backhander upstairs for his second of the playoffs.
It turned to a 3-0 game at 11: 48 when Ewanyk netted his third of the post-season and when blueliner Martin Gernat scored at 14: 51, Boes' night came to an end. The home crowd gave him a warm send-off, knowing they wouldn't see him again until the end of the summer.
Coming into the game cold, Anderson got comfortable quickly and made a highlight reel save on Edmonton forward Rhett Rachinski late in the first period. Rachinski appeared to have a surefire goal, fooling Anderson on a deke. Anderson reached back and got his stick out to block what would have been Edmonton's second short-handed goal on the night.
Gernat beat Anderson with a low point shot at 3: 19, bumping the score up to 5-0, but that was all the Oil Kings could get past the backup in the second period, despite throwing 19 shots at him.
The third period wasn't kind to Dylan Wruck. Having missed the last week of the regular-season with what the team called an upper-body injury, he appeared to hurt his shoulder 3: 30 into the game's final frame. The winger left the ice doubled over, clutching at his right shoulder.
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