Saturday, November 10, 2012

Brossoit carries Oil Kings to another road victory

On a night in which T.J. Foster picked up three points in the Edmonton Oil Kings 4-2 win over the Prince George Cougars, netminder Laurent Brossoit still managed to steal the show. The Oil Kings puckstopper put his club on his back one more time, in stopping thirty-eight shots and leading the defending Western Hockey League champs to yet another road victory.

Despite being shorthanded on three separate occasions and outshot 14-9 in the opening twenty minutes of play, the Oil Kings found themselves with a three goal advantage heading into the intermission. They made the most of their opportunities and let their goaltender do the rest.

The Cougars came hard out of the gate but were unable to sneak one behind Brossoit in the opening minute of play and Edmonton wasted little time taking advantage of their netminders timely stops. Curtis Lazar found a streaking Henrik Samuelsson with a lovely feed, sending his linemate in on a partial break. The talented Samuelsson made no mistake, sliding home his eleventh of the year past Prince George starter Brett Zarowny, giving the visitors the early advantage.

The Cougars looked to get that one back on the man advantage but it would be the Oil Kings who would stretch their lead on the penalty kill. After gaining control of the faceoff in their own end, Edmonton quickly moved the puck up ice to Foster, who beat his man wide and flipped a backhand through Zarowny, for his eleventh of the season. It was definitely a shot the Cougars tender would like back.

To their credit, Prince George continued pressing and carried the play for the remainder of the period but Brossoit kept them at bay. Michael St. Croix would put an exclamation mark on period one, firing home his team leading twelfth of the year, with all of two seconds left on the clock. That made it 3-0 and marked the end of the road for Zarowny.

With Mac Engel between the pipes to start the second period, the Cougars picked up where they left off and continued firing shots at the Oil Kings netminder. They were finally rewarded for their hard work, as Jari Erricson slid a rebound through Brossoit, just before the midway point of the middle frame. Ericson would have the best chance to make it a one goal game before the period was out but he was stoned by the Surrey, BC native.

After watching captain Griffin Reinhart get nailed from behind by Caleb Belter, blueliner Keegan Lowe came to the defence of his fallen teammate and decided to drop the mitts. Much like his father, Edmonton Oilers legend Kevin Lowe, Keegan is not one to shy away from confrontation and is always willing to step in for a teammate.

Just as they did in period two, the Cougars would score midway through the third, cutting the lead to one. Not surprisingly, it was another rebound goal, as Brett Roulston scored his fourth of the season to give Prince George hope.

Despite being given yet another power play in the closing minutes, the Cougars could not get another puck behind Brossoit. Reinhart would put the final nail in the coffin, scoring his second of the season into the empty net.

Edmonton finish off their six game trek against these same Prince George Cougars on Saturday night. Through five games, the Oil Kings have gone 3-2 and have the chance to make this a very good road trip. That being said, this will be their fourth game in five nights. making it all the more challenging.

One would guess that backup netminder Tristan Jarry would get the call in goal for Edmonton but there is no guarantee of that actually occurring. Brossoit has started the last four games of the trip and gone 3-1 with a ridiculous .943 SV%. While having him start five games in eight days may seem like a lot to ask, every goalie will tell you he wants to keep playing when he is in a zone...and Brossoit is clearly in one at the moment.

The Oil Kings do not return to action for a full week, when they play host to the Prince Albert Raiders at Rexall Place. Giving their star goaltender time to recover from what has been a grueling road trip. Having said that, one must remember Brossoit is scheduled to start at least one of the two games for Team WHL against Team Russia in the final two games of the 2012 SUBWAY Super Series, on Wednesday and Thursday night.

It will be a tough decision for head coach Derek Laxdal but don't be surprised to see his starting netminder back between the pipes tonight and than turn it over to Jarry on November 17th against Prince Albert.  

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