Through the Oil Kings opening sixteen games of the season, goaltender Laurent Brossoit had yet to show the level of play he displayed on an almost nightly basis during the 2011-2012 campaign. If Edmonton's last two outings are any indication, it appears as though the netminder has relocated his "A" game...right when his team needed it most.
On the strength of another outstanding performance from Brossoit and two first period goals, the Oil Kings handed the high flying Kamloops Blazers their first loss of the season on home ice Tuesday night, edging the top ranked team in the Western Hockey League, by a score of 2-1.
Mitch Moroz got things rolling in the right direction, banging home his fourth on the year, just twenty-one seconds in, as Edmonton took advantage of their early opportunity. Not exactly the start the Blazers were hoping for but it was just what the doctor ordered for the weary Oil Kings.
In what seemed like an endless parade to the penalty box in the opening frame, the two sides would combine for five power play chances, three of which that went to the Blazers, and see the Oil Kings tender come up large, in securing their early advantage.
Brossoit made two huge stops with Edmonton down a man, one off Brendan Ranford and a second off the WHL's leading scorer, JC Lipon, to keep it a one goal game. That seemed to give the visitors a jolt off energy and they rewarded their backstop for his timely stops, with an insurance marker on their second chance with the man advantage.
Henrik Samuelsson would pot his tenth of the season, sliding home a backhander behind Kamloops starter, Cole Cheveldave, to make it 2-0 at the 12:56 mark of period one. The goal was the feisty Swede's fifth power play marker of the year, as he continues to not only produce on the man advantage but also developing into one of the best power forwards in the Western Hockey League.
Edmonton took their two goal cushion to the dressing room and were the better side in the middle stanza but were unable to extend the lead. Cheveldave made a number of key stops to keep his team in it and Brossoit continued to look unbeatable at the other end, making monster stop off Tim Bozan, early in the frame.
With the Oil Kings playing their third game in five nights, they had little left in the tank for third. The Blazers finally managed to get one behind Brossoit, as Ranford re-directed home his eighth of the year, with just over seven minutes to play, giving Kamloops hope. Despite outshooting Edmonton 9-1 in the final frame and having a glorious opportunity to tie things up, on a power play in the final five minutes, the Blazers would not find the equalizer.
The two points pulled Edmonton back into a tie atop the Central Division with the Calgary Hitmen, who had briefly pulled ahead with a 2-1 win over Moose Jaw on Sunday night. They are 2-1 on their current six game road trip and are back in action on Wednesday night, as they pay a visit to the Kelowna Rockets. The extended trek will come to a close on Saturday night, when they the finish up a two game set with the Prince George Cougars.