The Edmonton Oil Kings know they won't be competing for a Western Hockey League title anytime soon - and Wednesday night's rout showed them just how far they have to go.
Tyson Sexsmith stopped just 10 shots for his WHL record-tying 21st career shutout as the powerhouse Vancouver Giants cruised to a 6-0 victory over the Oil Kings on Wednesday night.
Sexsmith was rarely tested in the victory, which moved him into a tie with former Seattle Thunderbirds goaltender Bryan Bridges (2001-2006) and ex-Everett Silvertips netminder Leland Irving (2003-2008) atop the all-time shutouts list.
Edmonton (5-9-1-0) simply couldn't keep up with the Giants (8-0-0-3), who remain the only team in the WHL that hasn't lost in regulation. Vancouver, ranked seventh in the Canadian Hockey League, dominated the second-year Oil Kings throughout, holding them to one shot in the first period and a franchise-low 10 for the game.
"If you look at the shots, they had a definite (advantage) on us," said Oil Kings goaltender Cam Lanigan. "You try not to think too much about it. You definitely glance up (at the shot clock) and kind of wonder.
"There's no pointing fingers, we all need to step it up."
The Giants have been the class of the WHL at both ends of the ice: They lead the league in goals scored (60) and are tied with the Spokane Chiefs for the fewest goals allowed (21). Coming off back-to-back shootout losses to Prince Albert and Everett, the Giants improved to 2-0 all-time against Edmonton, outscoring their Alberta counterparts 13-0 in the series.
Despite the lopsided defeat, Oil Kings assistant coach Rocky Thompson had words of praise for his beleaguered defence corps.
"We played a very good team tonight and gave up just 31 shots," said Thompson. "I'm happy with the progress we're making, we've got to keep their spirits up ... all this experience is invaluable."
Elsewhere in the WHL on Wednesday, it was: Portland 4 Saskatoon 3; Medicine Hat 7 Prince George 3; Calgary 4 Red Deer 3; Prince Albert 5 Moose Jaw 2; Kamloops 5 Seattle 2; and Kelowna 5 Chilliwack 0.
At Edmonton, the Giants opened the scoring at 2:45 of the first, as Mikhael Fisenko beat Lanigan from the slot. Fisenko extended the lead 11 minutes later, whipping a shot past Lanigan's glove.
Brendan Gallagher made it 3-0 with a slapshot on a rolling puck that eluded Lanigan on the glove side at 15:14 of the second. Evander Kane followed 1:40 later with his 10th goal - and league-leading 23rd point - of the season.
Craig Cunningham made it 5-0 on a breakaway at 3:19 of the third period, going high with a backhand. James Henry's power-play goal at 9:10 ended the scoring.
Lanigan turned aside 27 shots in defeat for Edmonton.
Winter Hawks 4 Blades 3
At Saskatoon, Troy Rutkowski scored in overtime as Portland shocked the Blades.
Riley Boychuk, Luke Walker and Brad Ross also scored for the Winter Hawks (2-10-0-0).
Adam Chorneyko, Mike Reich and Travis Toomey replied for Saskatoon (9-4-1-0).
Tigers 7 Cougars 3
At Medicine Hat, Alta., Tyler Ennis had a goal and three assists as the Tigers routed Prince George to earn their third win in a row.
Cody Carlson, Mark Isherwood, Linden Vey, Sean Ringrose, Joey Frazer and Brennan Bosch each had singles for Medicine Hat (7-3-2-2).
Brian Matte, Dana Tyrell and Parker Stanfield replied for the Cougars (7-7-0-0).
Hitmen 4 Rebels 3
At Calgary, Kyle Bortis had a goal and an assist as the Hitmen rallied to beat Red Deer.
Brandon Kozun, Ian Schultz and Bostjan Golicic also scored for Calgary (11-3-0-0).
Carter Smith, Tyler Penny and Tomas Polak countered for the Rebels (4-6-0-5).
Raiders 5 Warriors 2
At Prince Albert, Sask., Matt Robertson and Dustin Cameron each scored two goals as the Raiders defeated Moose Jaw.
Zak Stebner added a goal and an assist for the Prince Albert (8-7-0-0).
Brayden Metz and Joel Broda answered for the Warriors (5-6-0-1).
Blazers 5 Thunderbirds 2
At Kamloops, B.C., The Blazers scored three third-period goals to beat Seatle.
Jake Trask, Scott Wasden, Kenton Dulle, Brendan Ranford and Jimmy Bubnick scored for Kamloops (5-8-0-2), which had lost five straight.
Jonathan Parker and David Richard replied for Seattle (2-9-0-1).
Rockets 5 Bruins 0
At Chilliwack, B.C., Jamie Benn scored twice in Kelowna's victory over the Bruins.
Colin Long, Kyle St. Denis and Brandon McMillan had singles for the Rockets (8-6-0-0).
Lucas Gore turned aside 34 shots in defeat for Chilliwack (5-6-1-1), losers of four straight.