Oil Kings Head To Post Season In Just Second Year Of Modern Franchise History
PRINCE ALBERT, SK - It was an historical night for the Edmonton Oil Kings in Prince Albert Tuesday night.
For the first time in 30 years, and first time in modern franchise history, the Edmonton Oil Kings are playoff bound after beating Prince Albert 2-1 in front of a sold out crowd at the Art Hauser Centre in what marked only the fourth time in WHL history that there has been a tie-breaker game that has decided the final playoff spot.
Rookie Rhett Rachinski scored the game winner at the 8:54 mark of overtime so the Oil Kings are heading to the Western Hockey League playoffs, and will face the Calgary Hitmen in the first round Thursday. Tickets are on sale now for Games 3 and 4 back at Rexall Place scheduled for Monday March 23rd and Wednesday March 25th. Those are available at any Ticketmaster location or online at oilkings.ca.
"It's probably one of the best feelings I've ever had in my life." described an elated Rachinski after the game. "I'm glad we won and I'm glad we're in the playoffs. I saw the puck pop out from behind the net and I knew the goalie was on the other side of the post so I tried to tuck it in as quickly as I could. Fortunately for me, the goalie didn't have time to react, I'm just feeling great right now."
It was no doubt the biggest goal of the 17-year-old's career and it was definitely the biggest goal in franchise history.
"It was awesome." described Oil Kings Head Coach Steven Pleau. "P.A. was great. I thought it was a heck of a hockey game and in a game like that, it's going to be a bounce around the net. It was a great game and we worked for it all year. I thought it was awesome."
Oil Kings forward Brent Raedeke scored a power play marker in the first period to give the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead and Bryce Lamb responded with a goal in the second period.
It was a real goaltending battle between Oil Kings goaltender Torrie Jung and Zemlak.
Jung made 35 saves, while Zemlak countered with 40.
"I thought for the first 13 minutes of the second period, they really poured it on." explained Jung. "They wanted it. Near the end of the second, I remember Raedeke hit Justin Bernhardt into the corner with a really great hit and that seemed to spark the boys. It's cliche but all cylinders were firing after that."
The Oil Kings dominated the overtime period, outshooting Prince Albert 11-2.
After a strong finish to the second period, Edmonton carried it over into the third period. After being outshot 12-7 in the second period and 26-21 overall through the first two periods, the Oil Kings threw everything on the line in the third period as they swarmed for the game winning goal.
Raedeke's goal was a hard slap shot that handcuffed Zemlak at the tail end of the Oil King s power play. It capped off an outstanding first period for the Detroit Red Wings prospect, who was the Oil Kings offensive catalyst.
Down 1-0, the Raiders swung the momentum in their favour and outshot the Oil Kings 6-0 midway through the second period. Bryce Lamb tied the game at the 10:46 mark when he deflected a Paul Kozyra point shot that found it's way through traffic beat Torrie Jung.
That goal seemed to spark the Oil Kings and they picked up their play offensively, but even more so in the physical department.
Co-captain Brenden Dowd laid a devastating hit on Raiders top defenceman Ryan Button. Brett Breitkreuz hammered Button's defence partner Blaine Tendler along the glass, and Brent Raedeke caught Raiders sniper Justin Bernhardt with his head down.
Edmonton's physical play seemed to rattle Prince Albert as the second period ended. It was arguably the most physical period the Oil Kings have played all season long.
The Oil Kings took that momentum and pressed for the game winner, they outshot Prince Albert 21-10 in the third and in overtime.
The Oil Kings will now advance to the Western Hockey League playoffs for the first time, and it will be a real battle of Alberta when they start their quarter-final series against the Calgary HItmen. Game 3 is scheduled for Monday March 23, 2009 at Rexall Place. Game 4 will be Wednesday March 25th. Game 5 (if neccesary) will also be at Rexall Place due to building availability. That contest would go Friday March 27th. Tickets are available at any Ticketmaster location, on-line at oilkings.ca or by calling (780) 409-3700.
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Western Hockey League Stories from March 18, 2009
- Brandon Has Playoff Fever? - Brandon Wheat Kings
- Western Hockey League Announces Western All-Star Teams - WHL
- Six Giants Named to WHL All Star Teams or Awards Finalists - Vancouver Giants
- Hawks Win Draft Lottery - WHL
- Blades Close Out Regular Season Ranked Seventh in CHL - Saskatoon Blades
- Hitmen Leap over Spitfires into Top Spot - WHL
- Pickard Selected as Western Conference Goaltender of the Year - Tri-City Americans
- Warriors to Select Second Overall in 2009 WHL Bantam Draft - Moose Jaw Warriors
- Tokarski and Bowman Earn Post-Season Honors - Spokane Chiefs
- Connolly A Finalist For WHL Rookie of the Year - Prince George Cougars
- Pickard, Procyshen Named to All-Star Rosters - Tri-City Americans
- WHL Announces 2008-09 Western Conference All-Star Teams and Awards Finalists - WHL
- 2009 WHL Playoffs First Round Preview - WHL
- White-Out at the Credit Union Centre - Saskatoon Blades
- Hitmen Prepare For Edmonton Oil Kings In First Round Of 2009 Playoffs - Calgary Hitmen
- WHL Playoffs Set - WHL
- Americans Wrap-up Regular Season with 2-1 Loss to Chiefs - Tri-City Americans
- Kelowna Rockets Announce Awards Banquet Winners - Kelowna Rockets
- Oil Kings Head To Post Season In Just Second Year Of Modern Franchise History - Edmonton Oil Kings
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