FanShot

Pelss returns to the Oil Kings in style

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Quite a day for Oilers seventh rounder Kristians Pelss. First he returned to Edmonton from a successful "European vacation" in the wee hours, sans luggage. While overseas Pelss helped Latvia win its pool and earn promotion to next year's World Junior, some of which will be held in his current home rink right here in River City. Hours later Pelss, jet lag and all, returned to the Oil Kings line-up with a bang, notching two assists in the locals' 3-2 win over Lethbridge. From the Edmonton Journal's account (linked above): "The third goal, which was the eventual game-winner, was a beauty that came from a Pelss hustle play. After losing his stick near the Oil Kings’ bench, Pelss picked it up and found a pass from Mark Pysyk waiting for him. The pass was like an instant go-button for Pelss, who burst across the blue-line from a standstill, leaving a Lethbridge defenceman behind him. He cut in along the right wing and slid a perfect pass in front to a streaking Jordan Hickmott, who potted his 22nd goal of the season." Having had the opportunity to see Pelss play five games (Joey Moss Cup, four with the Oil Kings) before his departure, this Oiler/Oil Kings fan is very pleased with his rapid progress, as he has been a bigger factor in each successive game. His stats suggest his learning curve has a very steep slope. After starting the season with just 1-3-4, -2 in his first 22 games, Pelss has posted an impressive 2-6-8, +8 over his last six outings. Small sample size, obviously, but nonetheless suggestive that Stu MacGregor has netted another live one and parked him right under Edmontonians' noses. It's already been fun watching this kid develop, and I'm looking forward to doing more of the same over the next season and a half.