The Edmonton Oil Kings were given the gift of the man advantage three times in the first period of game one last night. The opportunity was there for the taking to jump on Portland early and negate their home-ice advantage. However, the Oil Kings went 0-for-3 on the power play in that opening period and 0-for-4 on the night.
The power play is a focus of the team heading into tonight’s game two.
“We’re usually pretty good starters on the first shift and last night they exposed our first line there a little bit and they got a good opportunity, then they took a penalty off the play,” Head Coach Derek Laxdal said. “But we’ve got to score on our power play. We see some things on their penalty kill that we think we can exploit and our guys have to be able to put those plays in place on the ice. That’s something we’ll focus on tonight in our meeting and get ready for it.”
The players felt like their lack of power play production, especially in that first period, was a momentum killer. It was a big part of why the Oil Kings dug themselves a three-goal hole.
“Anytime you come out and you get power plays early in the game, you want to capitalize,” forward Mitch Moroz said. “It’s tough sometimes when you’re in the game, I think my first shift was a power play shift. That’s always tough but you’ve got to be ready to execute when given those opportunities. It’s definitely kind of a killer when you’re not sharp on your early power plays. That would have been huge and definitely a game changer and it swung in their favour. But if that happens again, we’ve got to be ready for it.”
Brett Pollock added, “It’s hard but that’s just the way the game goes sometimes and I guess we kind of learned from that and now we won’t take our power plays for (granted).”