By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The defending Western Hockey League champions came to Comcast Arena on Friday night, and they took the Everett Silvertips to the woodshed.
The Edmonton Oil Kings ran roughshod over the Tips, blowing them out 7-1.
Edmonton is the defending league champ and the runaway leader in the Eastern Conference for a reason, and that was on full display Friday. The Oil Kings put on a clinic of skating, puck movement and relentlessness. Everett tried to match Edmonton as the Tips came out skating hard and playing physical — the physical play led to its share of ill-tempered moments. But Everett could only maintain that pace for one period before Edmonton took total control.
“Their three 20s and eight 19-year-olds are a very good group, and then when you add the other quality players they’ve got they are a very good team,” Everett interim coach Garry Davidson said. “I thought our guys worked hard and competed. Obviously we made some mistakes. But I like the fact that we at least went out and competed.”
Michael St. Croix pulled the strings for Edmonton, dishing out four assists to lead the Oil Kings attack. Martin Gernat and Trevor Cheek both found the net twice, while Curtis Lazar, Griffin Reinhart and Cody Corbett also scored for Edmonton (46-15-2-3), which was playing the final game of its five-game swing through the U.S. Division.
The Oil Kings also took full advantage of the penalty discrepancy. Edmonton had a 7-2 edge in power plays, including two lengthy five-on-threes. The Oil Kings, with the league’s top-rated power play, converted thrice.
“They’re too good to be giving them seven power plays,” said Davidson, who declined to comment on the quality of the officiating. “They had seven and we only had two. You can’t afford to do that against good teams.”
Tristan Jarry earned the win in goal for Edmonton with 26 saves.
Reid Petryk scored the lone goal for Everett (22-37-1-4), which remained in eighth place in the Western Conference. The Tips fell three points behind seventh-place Seattle, which won 3-1 at Tri-City. Everett remained five points ahead of ninth-place Prince George, which lost 4-1 to Kamloops. The top eight teams qualify for the postseason.
Daniel Cotton stopped 32 of 39 shots in net for Everett before being replaced in the third period. Austin Lotz stopped all 13 shots he faced in relief. Both were required to make multiple highlight-reel stops.
It doesn’t get any easier for Everett tonight as the Tips welcome Portland, the team with the league’s best record, to Comcast Arena.
Everett had the game’s first big scoring chance early in the first period as Ryan Harrison had the puck on his stick in close with Jarry out of position. However, Edmonton defenseman Keegan Lowe got his stick in to block the shot.
Then Edmonton took the lead on the power play at 5 minutes, 42 seconds, Lazar with the tap-in at the far post on a nice back-door feed from St. Croix.
The Oil Kings then broke it open with four goals in the second period. Gernat put in a rebound on the power play at 1:09, then had a centering feed deflect off an Everett defender and in at 5:45 to make it 3-0.
Everett got on the board at 7:31. Petryk and Kohl Bauml traded passes up the ice, freeing Petryk to put a shot into the top corner.
But Edmonton quickly restored its three-goal lead when another great feed by St. Croix, this time a backhander, set up Cheek at the far post at 9:36. Then adding final insult to Everett, Reinhart snapped his stick on a slap shot from the point, but the puck still slid into the far corner, making it 5-1 with 28.3 seconds remaining in the period.
Edmonton piled on in the third. Slap shots
Everett overager Landon Oslanski, who’s switched between defense and forward throughout the season, was back on defense Friday. Oslanski had been playing forward since Austin Adam returned from mononucleosis a week earlier. … Edmonton played without key power forward Henrik Samuelsson. Samuelsson, who has 77 points in 65 games, was serving the first game of a two-game suspension for a spearing major penalty taken during Wednesday’s 4-3 victory at Portland.
Oil Kings 7, Silvertips 1
First Period—1, Edmonton, Lazar 35 (St. Croix, Wruck), 5:42 (pp). Penalties—Petryk, Everett (kneeing), 4:40; Zipp, Everett (delay of game), 9:25; Mueller, Everett (hooking), 19:37.
Second Period—2, Edmonton, Gernat 2 (Foster, Lazar), 1:09 (pp). 3, Edmonton, Gernat 3 (St. Croix, Cheek), 5:45. 4, Everett, Petryk 13 (Bauml, Hayer), 7:31. 5, Edmonton, Cheek 28 (St. Croix, Foster), 9:36. 6, Edmonton, Reinhart 7 (St. Croix, Corbett), 19:31. Penalties—Corbett, Edmonton (hooking), 1:47; Pollock, Edmonton (high sticking), 9:40; Lowe, Edmonton (cross checking), 12:52; Leedhal, Everett (roughing), 12:52; Mappin, Everett (checking to the head), 12:52; Stadnyk, Everett (embellishment), 12:52; Lazar, Edmonton (instigator-fighting-10-minute misconduct), 13:10; Betker, Everett (boarding-fighting), 13:10.
Third Period—7, Edmonton, Cheek 29 (Legault, Reinhart), 4:43 (pp). 8, Edmonton, Corbett 6 (Wruck, Reinhart), 6:26. Penalties—Moroz, Edmonton (10-minute misconduct), 3:40; Ewanyk, Edmonton (roughing), 3:40; Lowe, Edmonton (roughing), 3:40; Harrison, Everett (roughing), 3:40; Low, Everett (roughing-roughing), 3:40; Petryk, Everett (charging), 4:20; Baddock, Edmonton (slashing), 7:46; Aasman, Everett (slashing), 7:46.
Shots on goal—Edmonton 14-18-20—52. Everett 9-12-6—27. Power-play opportunities—Edmonton 3 of 7. Everett 0 of 2.
Goalies—Edmonton, Jarry 16-7-0-0 (27 shots, 26 saves). Everett, Cotton 9-18-0-2 (39 shots, 32 saves), Lotz (13 shots, 13 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.