PENTICTON, BC -- Winning is routine for the Oilers at the Young Stars Classic.
Hosted perennially by the city of Penticton, BC, in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, the franchise has won in five of the six years it's been put on thus far, compiling a 13-5-2 record.
In the 2017 edition of the circuit, the Oilers prospects and invitees attending have an opportunity to once again take the tournament after triumphing in their first two games - a 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames and a 3-0 victory against the Winnipeg Jets - and despite it being an exhibition event with little on the line, the organization is adamant in claiming victory.
"You want to win," said Oilers rookies Head Coach Gerry Fleming, who's attended every year. "This camp is an opportunity for guys to shine like I said right from the beginning but you also play the games to win.
"The guys have been competitive, guys have worked hard, guys have laid it on the line and as a result, we've had some success here."
Edmonton will cap the week with a Monday finale against the Vancouver Canucks rookies. There will be no trophy to hoist or bubbly popped but there's an overarching lesson to be learned regarding success should the squad be up by the final buzzer.
"You can teach guys how to win and there is a formula to winning," continued Fleming. "You can't just put on the jersey and be the best player and expect to win. You have to apply the rules that you have to apply in order to be successful in anything in life."
There are quirks associated with the team's success at the tournament. Since 2015, Edmonton is 7-0-1 which, coincidentally, is when assistant coaches Tony Borgford and J.F. Houle began partaking.
"Tony and J.F. have both been undefeated at this tournament," said Fleming. "It's got to be those guys; they're good luck charms."
Netminder Shane Starrett - who signed with the Oilers out of the Air Force Academy in April - will start against the Canucks rookies. The keeper is aware of the prospective chance at winning but maintains it doesn't change anything.
"It's still just a game," he said. "It's the same game I've been playing my whole life. It doesn't change whether it's a big game, exhibition game or playoff game.
"Either way you look at it, it's still the game I've been playing."
The goaltending has quite possibly been Edmonton's strongest aspect this year. Stuart Skinner posted a goose egg in his start, while Dylan Wells also had a solid outing of his own against the Flames. Starrett wants to maintain the precedent the two established.