Brossoit turns into ‘momentum killer’ for Warriors
Oil Kings goaltender’s second-period save prevented Moose Jaw from rallying from deficit
By Chris O'Leary, edmontonjournal.com
April 21, 2012 8:02 PM
Edmonton Oil Kings goaltender Laurent Brossoit makes a save against the Moose Jaw Warriors during the first game in the Eastern Conference Championships at Rexall Place.
Photograph by: Ed Kaiser , edmontonjournal.com
EDMONTON - With a night’s rest and a fresh look at the tape in the morning, Derek Laxdal was still a fan.
The head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings had another look at goaltender Laurent Brossoit’s second-period save on Moose Jaw Warriors forward Cam Braes from Friday night’s 6-1 win and couldn’t say enough about the play.
“I watched it this morning and it’s outstanding,” the coach said. “We’ve seen that save this year already, (in a regular-season game) against Medicine Hat.
“It just shows you the athleticism of L.B., what he can do. It was a hell of a save and it kept us in the game in the second period.”
Brossoit’s efforts helped the Oil Kings take a 1-0 lead in the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference final series. Game 2 goes Sunday at 5 p.m. at Rexall Place.
Backpedalling on the penalty kill, the Oil Kings appeared to be caught by the Warriors on Friday night. Braes got the puck on his stick with Brossoit on the opposite side of the net. The 19-year-old Calgary Flames draft pick looked to have no chance on the play. He wowed the 8,921 fans at Rexall by somehow lunging across the net in time to get his leg out on Braes’ shot.
Brossoit said he wasn’t sure how he made the play, but was happy to have provided the highlight.
“It was pretty big,” he said of the play. “It was more of a momentum killer for them, when we were up 3-0, but it’s always nice to do your part and contribute and make sure they don’t get a sniff and get back in it.”
Brossoit made 29 saves in the Game 1 win. It’s that kind of effort — and a 0.50 goals-against average over the final two games of the Oil Kings second-round sweep of the Brandon Wheat Kings — that has eyes across the Canadian Hockey League shifting over in his direction. He was named the CHL goalie of the week on Monday.
Brossoit said he didn’t have time to think about giving up a goal when he made the big save on Friday night.
“It happened so fast. I just kind of reacted to it and it’s not really something where I think I’m beat,” he said. “It’s just, it happened fast, the puck came across and I did what I did. I didn’t think too much at that point.”
Despite how bleak the situation looked, Laxdal trusted his goalie in the moment.
“You know what, I don’t think L.B.’s ever beat until the puck hits the back of the net,” he said. “He’s very structured in his game, his trainer does a great job with him and if he has to make an athletic save it’s within his ability.”
With the Oil Kings introducing an “L.B.” chant on the big screen at Rexall Place on Friday, it took a while for it to catch on with the crowd. Brossoit’s stoning of Braes gave the chant life. While his focus is on the next play, the next win, a league championship and eventually a trip to the Memorial Cup, Brossoit admitted he could hear the fans getting behind him.
“A little bit,” he said of the chant. “It was getting better and better throughout the game.”
EDMONTON EXPECTS PHYSICAL GAME 2
The Oil Kings won’t let their runaway Game 1 win give them a false sense of confidence when the puck drops on Sunday at 5 p.m. for Game 2.
Edmonton’s speed was too much for the Warriors to deal with on Friday, but Laxdal said that could all change quickly on Sunday.
“It doesn’t matter, if we lost last night, we’d come back hard,” he said. “Our whole mentality, our focus right now, is getting prepared to come back hard.”
“I think they’re going to be a little more physical,” Brossoit said. “They were supposed to be notoriously physical and they were (on Friday), but I don’t think they lived up to their hype in the first game.
“I think they have a lot more to offer, so we’re prepared and I think it’s going to be a big game.”
“We know they’re going to push, but we need to come back and match their energy,” Laxdal said. “We need to set the tone (Sunday) night.”
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