The Edmonton Oil Kings put forth a valiant effort in their first playoff game in modern franchise history, but the playoff savvy Calgary Hitmen proved to be over-powering as they beat the Oil Kings 5-0 Thursday night at the Saddledome.
Martin Jones made 21 saves for the shutout and Joel Broda scored twice, Ian Schultz, Kris Focault and Brandon Kozun added singles for Calgary in the victory.
Torrie Jung made 32 saves for Edmonton but unfortunately it wasn’t enough and Calgary took a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-seven, Eastern Conference WHL quarter-final series.
“I thought we had a decent start,” said Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau. “We generated power plays and were real good on the forecheck. We outshoot them in the first and that’s the way we need to play,”
Calgary boasts the most explosive offence in the WHL, scoring a whopping 330 goals during the regular season. The Oil Kings did a good job keeping the Hitmen offence in check for the first period. They outshot Calgary 7-6 in the opening 20 minutes and limited the Hitmen’s scoring chances to just three.
The experienced Calgary team has plenty of playoff experience with over 300 playoff games to their credit. Despite the lack of playoff experience, the Oil Kings didn’t give up and can draw a lot of positives in the loss and carry them over into the series.
The Oil Kings and Hitmen will continue the series in Calgary on Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm. The series returns to Rexall Place on March 23rd and 25th at 7:00pm. To secure your tickets to the Oil Kings first playoff run in modern franchise history, visit any Ticketmaster location or oilkings.ca.