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Memorial Cup Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Kings of the West WHL champs. Edmonton will try to shut down opponents with its strong defensive philosophy

Steve Macfarlane For Metro

Using a strong defensive philosophy and timely offence, the Edmonton Oil Kings battled their way back to the Memorial Cup this season. Their second Ed Chynoweth Cup in three years came in dramatic fashion, dropping the first two games of the Western Hockey League final, clawing back with three straight wins to give themselves a shot at winning on home ice in Game 6, then becoming the first road team in league history to win Game 7 of the championship series. This was supposed to be a rebuilding season for the Oil Kings, having lost three of their top four scorers from a

year ago, and 10 key players overall, including their top goaltender. While they had timely offensive support all season — scoring the third most goals (290) in the Western Hockey League during the regular season — there is no doubt the Oil Kings’ strength starts on the back end. They allowed the fewest goals against in the league (179) and showed in the WHL final just how effective they can be at shutting down a talented offence by smothering Portland Winterhawks stars Oliver Bjorkstrand, Derrick Pouliot, Brendan Leipsic and Nicolas Petan for much of their seven-game series. This season was a coming out party for goalie Tristan Jarry, who watched from the

Strong play from Edmonton Oil Kings goalie Tristan Jarry helped the team capture the Western Hockey League crown. Marko Ditkun photo

bench as predecessor Laurent Broissoit backstopped the Oil Kings to the Memorial Cup two seasons ago, and again when they fell short against the Winterhawks in the WHL

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final last spring. In his first season as a starter, Jarry had the lowest goals-against average (2.24) in the WHL, put together the most wins (44) and was tied

for top spot with eight shutouts. His save percentage, a respectable .914, was good for seventh. It helps when you have Griffin Reinhart clearing bod-

ies and rebounds from the front of the net. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound fourth-overall pick of the New York Islanders from 2012 was named WHL playoff MVP for his efforts.

Go Knights Go!

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