All the Edmonton Oil Kings needed was one goal on the road to a 1-0 win over the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday night at Rexall Place.
Scoreless after the opening period, Phoenix Coyotes first-rounder Henrik Samuelsson broke the deadlock 15 seconds into the middle frame to give the Oil Kings the lead.
The two teams battled each other to a draw the rest of the period, and kept each other off the scoreboard in the final frame.
Kootenay head coach Ryan McGill wasn’t happy with a lack of effort from parts of his lineup, but praised the work of his goaltender, Mackenzie Skapski, who made 29 saves to keep it a close game for the Ice.
“I think we needed a few more players to show up offensively,” said McGill. “We can’t have the same guys every game trying to carry the team and we didn’t have it.
“We had some guys that were passengers tonight unfortunately, but our goaltender was excellent though, their goaltender was excellent and we just needed more than our top line playing hard.”
Kootenay went scoreless in three valuable chances on the man-advantage, but the Oil Kings were able to shut the door.
“We got some chances on our last powerplay, but their goalie played well,” continued McGill.
The loss keeps the Ice in fifth place with a three-point gap ahead of Swift Current, who will play the Blades on Wednesday night for a chance to cut into that deficit.
Kootenay, in turn, will be challenging the Rebels in Red Deer.
“Especially this time of year when you’re going into the playoffs, we didn’t see second and third effort out of some guys that we needed to see,” said McGill, “and that’s unfortunate. We need to understand that we need to finish as high as we can going into the playoffs and not slip to the sixth spot.”