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Bergeron shines at Superskills

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers took to the ice Sunday afternoon for its annual Superskills competition and Oilers fans came out in droves as well to watch its favourite team.

An estimated 15,000+ showed up with both the upper bowl and lower bowl sold out. Several sections of the gallery were also well attended.

Fans packed Rexall Place despite bone-chilling temperatures outside reaching -25 (-35 with the windchill) to see Team White knock off Team Blue by an overall score of 17-7.

"The support here is outstanding," said Oilers captain Jason Smith. "As players we definitely enjoy the opportunity to come out in front of the fans here."

The first event of the afternoon was the Puck Control Relay. Team White with Horcoff, Reasoner and Greene out raced Team Blue's Stoll, Tjarnqvist and Thoresen.

In the Individual Puck Control Relay, Pisani and Torres were even throughout the entire course until the final pylon. Pisani made a nice move to flip the puck around that last pylon to gain a slight lead on Torres.

For fastest skater, Marc-Andre Bergeron beat his time of last year to win the event for the second year running. He raced a lap in 14.392 to edge out Joffrey Lupul, who had a time of 14.412.

"There wasn't any saving (of energy) at all, just try to get the corners as sharp as possible and keep your feet moving," said Bergeron when asked of his strategy for winning the competition.

The next event was for Hardest Shot. Matt Greene ignited the crowd early when he blasted a shot at 100.3 miles per hour but it was Bergeron who again stole the show. The Blue Team defenceman ripped a shot at 103.0 mph and then followed that up with 103.5 mph.

"Quite frankly, I thought he had me," Bergeron said of Matt Greene's big shot.

Last year's winner for most accurate shot was Ales Hemsky, when he hit four targets in six opportunities. This year, Hemsky hit all four targets again but the fourth one was on his eighth try and came just after the buzzer so he was officially marked down as 3-for-8.

Following Hemsky, his linemate Petr Sykora stepped up. Nailing all four targets in five tries, he won the competition for Team White.

"If I would have had better passing I probably would have four out of four," joked Sykora, whose one missed shot came from the stick of Ladislav Smid.

The next event was the Power Play but it may as well have been called the Roloson and Greene Show. Dwayne Roloson and Matt Greene denied all goals from Team Blue as attackers Hemsky, Stoll and Torres plus Petersen, Thoresen and Tjarnqvist could not score.

Team White got goals from Pisani, Smyth, Reasoner and Winchester on Oilers video coach Brian Ross, in net in place of Jussi Markkanen.

The Breakaway Relay was changed to a "King of the Shootout" format, which was won by Joffrey Lupul. Shooters who scored in the first round advanced to subsequent rounds until a winner was determined. Lupul was the only player who scored in both the first and second round.
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