The Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-2 Friday night a the ENMAX Centre and in the process the defending Memorial Cup Champs clinched a WHL playoff spot.
The Oil Kings certainly aren't the power house of a team they've been the past three or four seasons, but they're back in the post-season picture this year nonetheless. In fact with a week left in the season, all 8 Eastern Conference playoff positions have been locked up. Who plays who in the first round is still yet to be determined.
The two teams exchanged first period goals in this game. Edmonton opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal at the 9:57 mark of the opening frame when Mads Eller scored to make it 1-0 Oil Kings. The Canes tied things up before the end of the period when Jamal Watson scored shorthanded as well, his 24th goal of the season to even things at 1-1.
In the second, the Oil Kings jumped ahead by a pair. Jake Kohlhauser scored his first WHL goal to make it 2-1 Edmonton and then with a few minutes left in the period Edgars Kulda scored on the power play to give the visitors a 3-1 lead through 40 minutes of play.
In the third, Edmonton would pull away in this game. Another power play goal, this one by Austin Carroll at 10:02 to give the Oil Kings a commanding 4-1 lead. The Hurricanes cut that lead in half when Tyler Wong scored his 26th goal of the season just over a minute later. The Oil Kings though would seal this game shortly after that thanks to goal from David Koch and that would be it, Edmonton wins it 5-2.
The victory clinched Edmonton a playoff position. The loss drops the Hurricanes overall record to 20-39-5-3 with five games left in the season. Both teams scored once shorthanded in this game. Edmonton was 2/5 on the power play and Lethbridge 0/5. The Oil Kings out shot the Canes 34-26.
The Hurricanes have a couple of tough games to close out the weekend. The host Calgary Saturday (Mar. 14) and hen travel to the Saddledome Sunday (Mar. 15) to play the Hitmen for the final time this season. The Hitmen are in a huge battle with Medicine Hat and Red Deer for playoff positioning in the East.