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Edmonton advances to Memorial Cup final

by Adam Kimelman

Curtis Lazar scored at 2:42 of the third overtime to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 4-3 victory against the Val-d'Or Foreurs on Friday in the semifinal game of the 2014 Memorial Cup at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario.

Edmonton faces the Guelph Storm in the championship game Sunday (4 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Lazar, a 2013 first-round pick (No. 17) of the Ottawa Senators, got to the front of the Val-d'Or net and tipped a low shot from the left point by Cody Corbett past the outstretched pad of Foreurs goaltender Antoine Bibeau.

"We had eye contact. [Corbett] found my stick on the ice and I was able to redirect it," Lazar said after the biggest goal of his career.

"My first thought was, 'go to bed'," he added with a chuckle. "It's so late right now. To get that one there is huge for our team."

Edmonton Oilers draft pick Mitchell Moroz had a goal and an assist for the Oil Kings, and Mads Eller and 2014 NHL Draft prospect Edgars Kulda also scored. Goaltender Tristan Jarry, a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect, stopped 46 shots.

Randy Gazzola had a goal and an assist for Val-d'Or, and Phil Pietroniro and Guillaume Gelinas scored. Bibeau, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, made 50 saves.

At a total time of 102:42, the game was the longest in Memorial Cup history. The longest previous was a 2005 meeting between the Ottawa 67s and Kelowna Rockets that went 95:41.

"The overtime periods were outstanding," Oil Kings coach Derek Laxdal said. "The goal we scored on to win the game was something that we worked on in practice, to change the direction of the pucks on Bibeau because he's been so good."

Edmonton was leading 3-2 in the final seconds of regulation when the Oil Kings were called for icing. With Bibeau pulled for an extra attacker, the Foreurs' Louick Marcotte won a right-circle faceoff in the Edmonton zone. The puck went to Val-d'Or's Anthony Mantha on the wall on the right side, and he slid it back to Gelinas at the point. The defenseman's shot from the right point went through traffic and past Jarry with 36.0 seconds left to force overtime.

Each team pushed the pace in the first overtime, with Edmonton getting 12 shots on goal to nine for Val-d'Or.

The Foreurs had the best chance in the second overtime to win it. Edmonton's Ashton Sautner was called for delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass at 12:41. During the Foreurs' power play, 2014 NHL Draft prospect Nicolas Aube-Kubel was stopped by Jarry on a mini-breakaway, and Jarry held strong while Val-d'Or put three more shots on net.

Aube-Kubel is No. 40 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American prospects for this year's draft.

Edmonton got goals from Moroz and Kulda 3:11 apart early in the second period to take a 3-1 lead.

Moroz, a 2012 second-round pick (No. 32) of the Edmonton Oilers, found open space between the hash marks during an Oil Kings power play, took a pass from 2014 draft prospect Dysin Mayo and fired a wrist shot past Bibeau at 6:34.

Kulda made it 3-1 at 9:45 when he scored his third goal in four games at the Memorial Cup. A Val-d'Or defensive-zone turnover led to a 2-on-1 for Edmonton from the top of the circles. Reid Petryk took the puck through the middle of the ice and slid a pass to his left to Kulda. Ranked No. 145 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 draft, showed tremendous patience and puck skills, dragging the puck around a Bibeau poke check attempt as he moved the puck from his backhand to his forehand and then slid the puck into an empty net.

Gazzola got the Foreurs within a goal with 2:08 left in the second period when he snapped a shot from the top of the right circle that found space between Jarry's left arm and body.

The teams traded goals in the first period, with Pietroniro scoring 1:49 into the game to put Val-d'Or ahead. Mads Eller, the younger brother of Montreal Canadiens center Lars Eller, tied it when he jumped onto the ice during a delayed penalty and fired home the rebound of a Griffin Reinhart shot at 9:00.


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