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BLOG: Third-line boost

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oil Kings have gotten a boost from their third line of Mads Eller, Riley Kieser and Luke Bertolucci and that’s help translate into wins for a team that started the series down two games to none. Edmonton has since tied their WHL final series with the Portland Winterhawks at 2-2 heading into a big game five tonight.

Although that third line hasn’t scored many goals, they’ve been contributing heavily on the penalty kill and in the face-off dot while providing energy. The head coach says he feels like it’s a matter of time before it becomes critical mass with that line contributing more on the score sheet.

“I think it’s very important to have that third line, they’re your energy guys,” Oil Kings Head Coach Derek Laxdal said. “They’re going to score in the series. They’re getting close. Obviously, Bertolucci scored a huge goal for us in game three but Mads Eller, Riley Kieser, those kids score at the most opportune times just because they work so hard. Their contributions penalty-kill wise and Riley Kieser on face offs, has been outstanding. That’s a line that they kind of wear you down. They’re not flashy, they just have that great work ethic and they get pucks to the net and find ways to get goals and I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up scoring a goal tonight for us.”

With the help of their third line, the Oil Kings have not allowed a power-play goal since game one. That was a 4-on-3 tally in the second period on May 3. Since then, Portland is 0-for-11 on the man advantage.

“I think we’re just trying to bring that energy,” Kieser said. “Every game we’re competing hard and trying to battle against their top lines and trying to be good in our own zone and that will reflect in the offensive zone. Just trying to get energy for our team and stuff like that.”

On the road, in a pivotal game five and with the series tied, secondary scoring from that line would really bring the energy for the already surging Oil Kings.

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