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Edmonton Journal article (Goalies front and centre in Eastern final)

April 20 2012 at 7:55 AM
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N. W. Bruin  (Login NW_Bruin_GM)

 
Goalies front and centre in Eastern final

Both Oil Kings’ Brossoit and Warriors’ Siemens have been spectacular in playoffs

By Jim Matheson, edmontonjournal.com

April 19, 2012

The Oil Kings’ Laurent Brossoit makes a toe save as they won Game 1 of WHL Eastern Conference quarter-final series between the Edmonton Oil Kings and Brandon Wheat Kings 2-1 in Edmonton , April 6, 2012.

Photograph by: Bruce Edwards , edmontonjournal.com

Goalies like to say they play the shooter, not the guy at the other end of the ice.

So it’s not Laurent Brossoit versus Luke Siemens when the Edmonton Oil Kings, who have won 19 straight games — including eight in the playoffs, battle the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Eastern Conference final.

It will be the big, hard-on-the-forecheck, work-the-puck-down-low Warriors versus the speedy, puck-moving defence, spread-the-offence-around Oil Kings, who don’t have a player in the top 20 in the Western Hockey League playoff scoring race but haven’t lost a game in two months.

“They shoot a lot,” Brossoit said about the Warriors, who have outshot their opponents 356-203 in the playoffs. “They try to use their physical size to intimidate guys down low.”

Eventually, the first WHL playoff meeting between the cities in 45 years will come down to who’s in net, though, just like it does every spring.

Brossoit is 8-0 and gave up only 12 goals against the Kootenay Ice and Brandon Wheat Kings for a .941 save percentage.

“This is his team, this is his run and he’s handled it really well,” said Oil Kings coach Derek Laxdal.

Siemens has also won eight in a row after losing the first game of the playoffs to the Regina Pats, and allowed only 20 goals against Regina and the Medicine Hat Tigers for a .901 save percentage.

“He was the fourth-rated goalie in our league in the regular season. He’s been very good for us,” said Moose Jaw director of hockey operations Alan Millar.

Over the regular season, Brossoit played 61 games and had a 2.47 goals-against average; Siemens played 55 games with a 2.56 GGA average. Both goalies are 19, but Brossoit is much bigger at six-foot-three and 202 pounds than the five-foot-11, 180-pound Siemens.

Brossoit was drafted last June by the Calgary Flames; Siemens hasn’t been picked by an NHL team but may get invited to a prospect camp this summer after his stellar play since being traded to the Warriors early in the season from the Everett Silvertips.

Both kids have routines. Siemens listens to the same rock ’n’ roll tunes before every game and likes gum, about two packs a night. Brossoit can usually be found in a hallway before puck drop, throwing a ball against the wall and catching it.

Brossoit, who is on Hockey Canada’s radar for the next world junior championship, is a much better goalie this season than he was in 2010-11.

“He’s still a teenager and there’s been games where you see some anxiety in the pre-game skates, but that’s the process for these kids,” said Laxdal. “You see how far they have to go from 20 to 24 years old. Same development from a 16- to a 19-year-old. He’s on that same learning curve and he’s doing a great job.”

Siemens hasn’t had the same hype as Brossoit, but held his own against Edmonton Oilers draft pick Tyler Bunz in the four-game sweep of the Tigers.

“People started to question Luke late in the year because he had a couple of rough outings against Regina, then when we played Regina in the first round, everybody went, ‘Uh, oh’,’’ said Millar. “Sometimes, goalies have trouble in a building or against a team, and it was important for Luke and our team to get past Regina ... .

“Then he went against Medicine Hat, people were picking the Tigers over us because of Bunz. I don’t think Luke got the credit he deserved ... he didn’t see as much rubber as Bunz, but he played with him and, in Game 4, he was better.”

ON THE BENCH: Oil Kings forward Dylan Wruck is questionable for the first game after suffering a suspected shoulder injury in Game 4 of the Brandon series when he hit the boards. “Game time decision,” said Laxdal, who would put Klarc Wilson in if Wruck can’t go. The Oil Kings could use his abrasiveness against the Warriors ... The WHL announced that Medicine Hat’s Emerson Etem, an Anaheim Ducks draft pick who scored 61 goals this season and seven more in the playoffs, is the Eastern Conference’s nominee for player of the year.

jmatheson@edmontonjournal.com

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

 
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