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Big win in Battle of Alberta

by Jen Sharpe / Edmonton Oilers
Oilers & Flames rookies face-off in the Flames zone during Tuesday's Young Stars Rookie game in Penticton, B.C.


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Although the Flames recovered from a slow start to overpower the Oilers on the shot clock, strong goaltending from Tyler Bunz and two powerplay goals courtesy of Alex Plante, including an empty-netter, secured a 5-3 win for Edmonton Tuesday night.

Chris Vande Velde, Mike Thomas, and Tyler Pitlick scored Edmonton's other two goals, Ryan Martindale tallied two assists, and Bunz finished with 34 saves for the win.


Just over three minutes into the game, Edmonton's James Livingston took the first of two consecutive penalties, but Calgary could tally only one shot on the powerplays.

At the frame's midway point, the Oilers held a confident 8-4 shot lead.

With seven minutes left on the clock, the Oilers tested out their man-advantage when Mikael Backlund took a hooking minor. Early in the powerplay, Ryan Martindale persistently plugged at the puck but Irving stuck with it and prevented the goal.

But seconds later, Irving couldn't do the same on Alex Plante. From the right point, Plante powered the puck through traffic and into the net to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead on the powerplay.

Although the Oil couldn't capitalize on a second Flames penalty at the tail end of the period, the club held on to their lead and finished 20 minutes up 16 shots to seven.


19 seconds into the middle frame, Calgary got another chance to tie it up on the powerplay when Nolan Toigo took a tripping minor.

Edmonton came within 10 seconds of killing that infraction, but a boarding penalty Dominik Schlumpf kept the team on the PK.

With Schlumpf in the penalty box, the Flames struck: From behind the net, Lance Bouma fed Greg Nemisz out front, who fired past Bunz to tie the game at one.

Edmonton's penalty woes continued. With Drew Czerwonka serving the final seconds of his tripping minor, Calgary's John Negrin added another powerplay goal to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.

But the Oilers quickly got that one back. Skating up the left side, Ryan Martindale swept the puck behind him and over to Mike Thomas, who buried it to tie the game.

The penalty box doors kept swinging, and powerplays continued to rule. With Nemisz in the box for Calgary, Edmonton's Chris Vande Velde caught Livingston's rebound and fired it past Irving to renew the Oilers' lead.

Then the fisticuffs errupted. First Cameron Abney bloodied up Chris Breen, followed by a brawl between Jordan Bendfeld and Ryley Grantham. All players were assessed fighting majors.

Edmonton looked poised to carry their two-goal lead into the third period, but with one second left on the clock, Keith Seabrook got Calgary within one to set the score 4-3. After 40 minutes, the Oilers held a narrow 26-23 shot lead.


The Oilers attained 30 shots early in the third before going on their fourth powerplay five minutes in. As the time ticked down, the powerplay tables turned and the Flames were able to take control of the shot clock.

With five minutes left in regulation, Bouma plowed an Oiler into the Flames bench, prompting swift retaliation from Nolan Toigo. The resulting fight netted a Bouma boarding minor in addition to fighting majors.

The desperate Flames applied pressure but the Oilers, led by Bunz, pushed back. In the final minute, Irving was sent to the bench and, when the puck was freed, Czerwonka embarked on a partial breakaway. But at center ice, Giffin Nygren tripped up the Oiler and headed to the box.

On the powerplay and facing an empty net, Alex Plante fired the puck home to seal an exciting 5-3 win for the Oilers.
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