Oiler prospect and Oil King defenceman Martin Gernat continues to improve his offensive numbers through the post season at a surprising rate. Photo by Lisa McRitchie all rights reserved
The Edmonton Oilers' season has long been over, but for the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Oklahoma City Barons this is crunch time. Friday, each member of the extended Oilers' family was one game away from taking their series and advancing. For the Barons, it will be a trip to the AHL Western Conference Finals, and for the Oil Kings, a trip to the Memorial Cup. While the historic Oil Kings franchise has made that trip before, this team is treading new ground, as are the Barons. In their inaugural season the Barons made the playoffs, but were eliminated in the first round. And so this year has already set new franchise records, but they want more. Really though, can you blame them? No of course not.
With Friday night's 4-3 victory, the Barons have now advanced to the Western finals and will take on the Toronto Marlies. The Barons convincingly took the best of 7 series against the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers 4 games to 1, coincidentally the same record as the matchup between the Marlies and the Abbotsford Heat (the AHL team of the Calgary Flames).
Like the Barons, the Oil Kings also required several overtime games to this point in their series, but that only increases the excitement level right? Leading just 3 games to 2, the Oil Kings look to take game 6 in Portland Saturday night but things don't go their way, the team will be playing their final home game Sunday night at Rexall.
Oilers' prospect Martin Gernat has been relied on heavily for the team's success and anxiously anticipates his opportunity to have the same success at the professional level. Through 18 playoff games, Gernat has 7 goals and 5 assists and stands 3 for WHL defencemen through this year's post season. When looking at the Oil Kings' post season stats alone, we see that Gernat is second in goals; just 1 behind future star Curtis Lazar.
Other Oilers' prospects Ewnyk and Pelss have not seen the same goal scoring as Gernat, but Pelss still has a game winning goal under his belt and usually comes up big when the team is in a critical situation. I wouldn't be surprised to see Pelss score Saturday night when the team could wrap things up. But of course look for the Winterhawks to battle, they're not ready to give up.
The Edmonton Oilers at the 2012 IIHF World Championships have also been seeing success. Jordan Eberle has been the clutch goal scorer that we can come to know and love through the years that he has played for the Oilers as well as team Canada.
Jeff Petry has been enjoying the ups and downs of playing for Team USA and has a goal and an assist through his 5 games and 74 minutes of play.
For Ales Hemsky, it is all goals, no assists and 4 points and +1 through 5 games. It's great to see him shooting more and passing less. Perhaps he can bring this game with him back to Edmonton in the fall.
The Worlds will continue through the weekend and into next week. And so, you will still have more hockey to watch before the NHL conference finals begin.
And oh yes, there is still no news on the contract situations for GM Steve Tambellini or the coaching staff.