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Leader-Post article (Warriors' strong season ends)

April 28 2012 at 6:20 AM
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N. W. Bruin  (Login NW_Bruin_GM)

Response to Edmonton Journal article (An agitator will skill, Samuelsson follows in dad's footsteps)

Warriors' strong season ends

By Matthew Gourlie, Moose Jaw Times-Herald

April 28, 2012

It was a microcosm of the series: Edmonton Oil Kings goalie Laurent Brossoit was great. The Oil Kings' special teams won their battle.

In the end, that helped the Oil Kings win the war.

The Oil Kings beat the Moose Jaw Warriors 4-1 in Friday's Game 5 of the WHL Eastern Conference final to win the series 4-1. The Oil Kings will advance to the WHL final against the Portland Winterhawks. The series begins Thursday in Edmonton.

"It wasn't supposed to end like this," said Warriors defenceman Dylan McIlrath. "Obviously we felt we had the team to do it. We still believe we had the team that could do it. It didn't go our way.

"It was a bizarre series. I thought it was closer than the scores, but their goalie got hot."

Brossoit made 37 saves and was voted the series' most valuable player.

The Warriors cap their greatest regular season in franchise history (45-19-6-2) and went on their seconddeepest run into the postseason in franchise history.

"I couldn't be more proud of the guys from start to finish," said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. "It's always hard when your season ends and you're not going out as the champions. You hope for the players' sake that they can keep going one more game, one more day, one more round. It wasn't meant to be.

"I think we grew as a group. We had a great bunch of kids. They wanted to learn. They wanted to get better and they were - most important to me - a team. They weren't individuals. They were a good team."

Despite facing long odds in the series and the game, the Warriors never quit. They earned four third-period power plays - including a 30-second five-on-three - to try to get back into the game, but failed to score.

Instead it was the Oil Kings who iced the game when Martin Gernat scored his second power-play goal of the night to give the Oil Kings a three-goal lead.

The Oil Kings finished 2-for-3 on the power play and the Warriors were 0-for-7.

The Warriors threw 14 shots at Brossoit in the third period and created a handful of chances in the final three minutes with their net empty.

"(Brossoit) has provided us with some outstanding goaltending," said Oil Kings coach Derek Laxdal. "He was well deserving of being named the series MVP."

Michael St. Croix and Gernat scored to give Edmonton a 2-0 lead before Moose Jaw's Sam Fioretti tallied in the second period to cut the Oil Kings' lead in half.

"I didn't think we were very sharp to start with," said Stothers. "Pucks were hitting off our sticks and kind of exploding. We didn't come out with the same urgency that we did the other night at home.

"They scored first and we had to play catch-up with them. Their goalie played extremely well again. Four of the five games he was voted first star. They're a good team - a very good team."

Curtis Lazar's goal gave the Oil Kings a 3-1 lead before Gernat scored again. Oil Kings captain Mark Pysyk opted not to touch the Eastern Conference championship trophy after the game.

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post

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