They're in the finals! The Edmonton Oil Kings had an iffy round robin, and needed some help to avoid a tie-breaker (which is death), and in tonight's semifinal they bested Val d'Or by a 4-3 score.
It was the Foreurs who got off to a quick start in the game, as Phil Pietroniro scored at 1:49 of the first period. The Oil Kings got that one back, as Mads Eller scored his first of the tournament, after a monster shot from Griffin Reinhart. In the second period, a power-play goal from Mitch Moroz and an equal-strength tally from Edgars Kulda made it 3-1 OK. Val d'Or scored late in the second to make it 3-2 at the intermission.
An intense third period saw great chances at both ends, but the Oil Kings played a steady defensive game, keeping most of the play to the outside. They were so close to winning in regulation, but, with 36 seconds left, a seeing-eye shot found twine and the Foreurs tied the game, sending it to overtime.
The first OT was a spirited affair with chances at both ends, although to my eye the Oil Kings had the edge.
The second overtime saw two teams that were tiring, and featured some of the slowest rushes on record. One Griffin Reinhart sundial rush was painfully slow and STILL the Oil Kings went offside. This is one more reminder that hockey players, while knowing the rules, can't resist looking for a slight edge. Drives me nuts.
Early in the third overtime, the Oil Kings won it on a Curtis Lazar tip-in. Fans are exhausted, can't imagine how the players feel.
The final goes Sunday, Oil Kings against the Guelph Storm, easily the class of the round robin.