Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cougars/Oil Kings Tilt Lives Up To Hype - Wild Comeback And More

Earlier today we gave you a number of reasons why attending the Prince George-Edmonton game at Rexall would be entertaining. A number of them happened as well as some other wild action in a 6-5 come from behind win for Edmonton.

The number one item on our Top 5 Tuesday list was Brett Connolly and the Tampa Prospect didn't disappoint right off the hop, and it wasn't the interference penalty he took 35 seconds after puck drop. Less then 3 minutes in the 6th overall pick from 2010 split Adrian Van de Mosselaer and Braeden Laroque and let go a shot with a big league release. It was the type of goal one scout I spoke to said was why he had Connolly in the top 3 for last years crop. The puck was behind Jon Groenheyde before his pad hit the ice for his butterfly save attempt. The Cougar Captain created the second goal as well with a point blank shot that produced a rebound for linemate Taylor Stefishen. He was plus 3 but didn't stand out as the game wore on.

Ty Rimmer vs. Laurent Brossoit is a match up we were hoping to see, and we did...it just took a little while. The Cougars led 4-1 after one and that meant Brossoit came off the bench for Edmonton. Rimmer went the distance for PG and while he did give up 6 goals, he didn't get much help. Edmonton outshot Prince George 43-31. But after getting pelted 13-9 in both the first and second periods, the Oil Kings released the Kraken and pumped 26 pucks at Rimmer. Yes the Kings outshot the Cougars 26-3 in the 3rd where they scored 4 times - 3 in the last 10 minutes - to stun the Cougars and the rather small crowd which was announced at 3370 but was likely half that. Brossoit only faced 18 shots in 2 periods, but was key for the Oil Kings when he took over in the 2nd. The draft eligible tender allowed the Kings to tie the period at one.

Brossoit also factored into the game winning goal in one of the strangest plays I've ever seen. With just over 2:30 to go in the 3rd tied at 5 Prince George dumped the puck in on the Oil King pipeman who covers it up. Even with Brock Hirshe and Jaroslav Vlach standing over top of him as well as Marek Hrbas and Mark Pysyk, the official standing behind Edmonton's net wouldn't blow the whistle. The bizarre scene went on for a few seconds as no one seemed to know what to do. The official was obviously yelling at Brossoit to play the puck, and with a giant crowd around him, he scooped it up with his trapper and almost windmill like threw it in the corner. Guy and just looked at each other stunned and spit out some words not fit for this space.

The most amazing thing is, that the Oil Kings gained possession and rushing up ice, Dylan Wruck undressed Daniel Gibb just inside the blueline and put a laser beam top shelf on Rimmer, popping up his water bottle. It was a highlight real goal for sure, and you should expect to see it on the plays of the week. I'm not sure if they'll show the non whistle for Brossoit as it makes the officials look pretty bad, but the goal should make it. It was quite funny actually as Edmonton Head Coach Derek Laxdal was livid - and rightfully so - and gave it to the refs all the way up the ice, and even after the play. We can only imagine the man in stripes barked back, something like ' shut up, you got a goal out of it'. And he would be right. Who knows what would have happened if the whistle had been blown and the face off went to Brossoit's right. Maybe the Oil Kings don't get the go ahead goal...or maybe the Cougars score off the draw

Prince George tried to get the equalizer in the final minutes, but Slovakian Dman Martin Marincin fanned on a point shot and his stick went flying. At the time we thought it was broken and a piece had ended up in the corner. In actuality Marincin threw his stick and received a penalty for it. I've never seen that call made on the team in the offensive side of things.

We were also thinking Cam Abney and Sena Acolatse would give us a John Wayne Special and 'put up their dukes'. But both heavy weights used their hands for offence. Acolatse scored the Cougars 3rd goal on a seeing eye single from the point. Abney exploded for 3 points - all assists - including the game tying goal. It's Abney's 2nd three point outing of his WHL career with first coming 4 games into this season against Regina.

It was a wild one, but maybe we shouldn't have been to shocked, after all back in October Edmonton came back for an 8-7 victory in a game with 4 lead changes. Oddly enough Dylan Wruck scored the game winner in that one as well, with 1 second to go in Overtime.

Imagine if these two ever hooked up in a WHL final? It might happen in the next couple of years.

(Photos: Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oil Kings)

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