LONDON, ON - On the heels of a double-overtime loss on Tuesday to Val d'Or, the recipe for the Edmonton Oil Kings Wednesday was rest and relaxation.
The team cancelled a scheduled practice and instead simply met with the media at noon.
"I think we got back into the hotel at 12:30 last night," said Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal. "For the kids, we let them sleep in this morning and have a day of rest. They're pretty tired looking. Both teams came off seven-game series so a day of rest will be great for both teams."
Team captain Griffin Reinhart also talked about being able to recharge a bit with some time to sleep in.
"It was a late night. Got a little bit of a sleep-in today and it's nice to have a day off today -- and maybe even tomorrow -- but I think we'll be re-generated for our next game."
The big question mark hanging over the Oil Kings right now, as Reinhart alluded to, is that they don't yet know when they will play their next game.
Tonight, in the final round robin game, host London Knights play the Guelph Storm. If London can pull out the win, they will advance to play the Oil Kings in a tiebreaker game on Thursday (Sportsnet, 5:00 p.m. MT). But if Guelph prevails, Edmonton advances straight to Friday's semifinal and a rematch with Val d'Or.
"We wanted to make semifinals right away," Edgars Kulda said, reflecting on last night. "I think I wanted to get revenge on Val d'Or. We want to win that game (Friday) and you want to get revenge on Guelph too, in the championship. Of course, it will be a good test for us. We don't know if there will be a tiebreaker yet. We'll see how things will go."
DEBRIEFING THE VAL D'OR GAME
Coach Laxdal talked a little bit more about Tuesday's loss against Val d'Or. It was a game where the Oil Kings had a 41-22 edge in shots at the end of 60 minutes and the head coach felt that his team deserved the victory at the end of the day but he also felt that his team had a bit more to give.
"We felt we deserved a better fate last night. I talked about it at the press conference (last night), it's a game of bounces. They got some bounces last night on their last three goals and that's what Val d'Or does. They do a great job hanging around, their goaltender keeps them in it and when they get a chance they jump on it. I think we deserved a better fate even though our second period wasn't great last night, it wasn't great for Val d'Or either. But at the end of the day, that game is done and we have to come to the game tonight and see what happens," said Laxdal.
Reinhart said that he thought the team needed to be more physical with the Foreurs.
"We tried to play physical all tournament long and last game we got away with it a little bit. We weren't as physical as we wanted," Reinhart stated. "Our goal isn't to come in and run guys out of the building, that's not the way we play but we try to wear teams down. We did a pretty good job against London and not so well last night."
Still, coach Laxdal felt that the team shouldn't dwell on the loss and that success in this tournament is dependent on always looking forward.
"In a short-term tournament, you have to have a short-term memory. Last night, it went into double overtime and they got a break on their overtime winner and a couple other calls. For us, that game's done with. We have to focus on the next game and that could be tomorrow night or that could be Friday night. I think our guys would like another crack at Val d'Or. We feel we should have beat them last night. The game we have to focus on winning is Friday night if we get there and if it has to be Thursday and we play London, so be it."