INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Monday, 05.11.2015 / 10:53 PM MT
By George Darkow - Oklahoma City Barons / Inside the Oilers

Mike Zalewski scored the game-winning goal in the third period to lift the Utica Comets to a 3-2 win over the Oklahoma City Barons and 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinals series of the AHL’s Calder Cup playoffs Monday night at the Cox Convention Center.

One minute, forty-two seconds after Oklahoma City’s Josh Winquist knotted the game at two with a power play goal at 3:08 of the third period, Utica’s Alex Biega sent a shot from the right point that deflected off Zalewski’s stick and past Barons goalie Richard Bachman for the game’s deciding score.

For a second straight game, the Barons were outshot by Utica, registering just 22 shots on net minder Jacob Markstrom to the Comets’ 28.

Unlike the series’ first two games in which the initial scoring team lost, Utica tallied the first goal of Monday’s game early in the first period. After a flurry of shots by the Barons, Utica scored on its first shot of the game when Alexandre Grenier sent a centering pass to Sven Baertschi, who shuffled the puck to Alex Friesen for a backhanded score at 1:20 of the first.

At 12:25 of the first, Grenier gave the Comets a 2-0 lead, grabbing a pass in the slot from Bobby Sanguinetti and spinning around before flipping the puck past a sprawling Bachman.

Oklahoma City got on the board at 15:10 of the first with a shorthanded goal by Andrew Miller, scoring moments after Zalewski left the penalty box during four-on-four play.

After Winquist’s goal tied the game at two, an errant clearing attempt by Oklahoma City’s Martin Marincin led to an icing call, setting up a faceoff in the Barons zone. On the ensuing play, Zalewski netted the game-winner for Utica.

With an assist on Winquist’s goal, Matt Ford registered his eighth point of the postseason, collecting at least one in all six of Oklahoma City’s playoff games.

The teams meet again for Game Four on Wednesday, May 13, in a 7 p.m. start at the Cox Convention Center.

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POSTED ON Monday, 05.11.2015 / 10:41 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist as the Kelowna Rockets won 5-3 to take a 3-0 series lead over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Monday night in Kelowna.

With the win, the Rockets are only one win away from a WHL Championship and an appearance in the Memorial Cup. Their next two games are on home ice in Kelowna.

Draisaitl opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal (video above) 6:35 into the first period. Morgan Klimchuk responded 1:13 later for Brandon to get the game on even terms. Gage Quinney regained the lead for the Rockets only 59 seconds after that, sending the home team into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.

Dillon Dube's goal 4:15 into period two increased Kelowna's advantage to 3-1 and before the period would end, Rourke Chartier's 11th of the postseason made it a three-goal game. 26 seconds after Chartier's goal, Brandon responded to send the game into the final frame down a pair. 

Brandon made a game of it in the third period after Tim McGauley's goal midway through made it a 4-3 contest but Chartier's second of the night and 12th of the playoffs -- assisted by Draisiatl -- was the insurance marker.

The two teams play again on Wednesday in Kelowna. Game time is 8:05 p.m. MDT and it can be seen on Shaw TV (channel 10).

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POSTED ON Monday, 05.11.2015 / 8:28 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Highlights | Post-Game Interviews

Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters won on home ice Monday 4-3 to narrow their gap in the series to two games to one over the Oshawa Generals.

McDavid had a goal and an assist to help lead the Otters to the win.

Erie had a 2-0 lead after two late first-period goals by Remi Elie and Alex DeBrincat. That lead carried over through a scoreless middle frame and into the third.

In the third, McDavid scored five minutes in to make it 3-0 for the home team. 1:15 later, Cole Cassels scored to bring the Generals within a pair. With 7:36 to go in the game, Nick Betz scored to give the Otters a 4-1 lead.

Late goals by Sam Harding and Cassels made it 4-3 but that was as close as Oshawa would get.

Game 4 goes Wednesday at 5:35 p.m. MDT. Game 5 will be televised on Sportsnet and is Friday at 5:35 p.m. as well.

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POSTED ON Monday, 05.11.2015 / 1:26 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Playing in relief of Laurent Brossoit in game two against San Antonio, Richard Bachman was on point. The Barons goaltender stopped all 16 shots as Oklahoma City rallied for the win, pushing the Rampage to the brink of elimination.

Bachman stopped 35 of 36 in game three, as the Barons advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals of the Calder Cup playoffs.

Again, Bachman was sensational. The netminder made 56 saves as the Barons and Utica Comets went through three full overtime periods before Curtis Hamilton potted the winner 16 seconds into the fourth.

Despite losing to Utica in overtime, 2-1 in game two, Bachman gave them a chance with 36 saves.

“He’s amazing back there,” said Barons forward Connor Jones. “He’s calm, he’s cool and he’s made some incredible saves. Like in game three against San Antonio, he made some big saves. Same as game two. When we’ve made mistakes, he’s been there to back (us up) and you can’t say enough about him.”

The Barons goaltender is leading the AHL with a .84 GAA and .973 save percentage this post-season.

Bachman says his performance is a result of multiple factors, but one is the confidence he gained from a call-up with the Oilers.

“I think it’s a number of different things. I’ve had some pretty good confidence from the time spent up in Edmonton at the end of the year there, to bring that back down with me,” said Bachman. “Part of it is seeing the puck well and a lot of it goes to our defence and our forwards. They’re blocking shots and letting me see the puck and really battling hard in front of the net for me.”

Bachman played six games with the Oilers this season, posting a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage. He finished his time in Edmonton with three-straight wins, making 83 saves on 86 shots in that span.

Bachman is expected to start tonight in game three against Utica, in Oklahoma City.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 05.10.2015 / 4:46 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

It was a battle that a lot of people around the hockey community were eager to watch— Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds against Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters.

Nurse played huge minutes against the Otters, drawing some big responsibilities. Unfortunately, the Greyhounds lost to the Otters, 4-2 in the Ontario Hockey League Western Conference Final.

McDavid is the OHL playoffs’ leading scorer with a whopping 43 points (19-24-43) in 17 games. He’s NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked North American skater ahead of the 2015 NHL Draft. Nurse says, after playing him, the hype is deserved.

“Obviously, he has a lot of hype but it’s something that he’s earned,” said Nurse. “Obviously, he’s such a great player. He showed in our series the way he’s able to make plays. He’s a special player. It was good to play against him. It was a good challenge for myself and it was good just to go out there and play and have a lot of fun.”

Erie is down 2-0 in their OHL Final best-of-seven series against the Oshawa Generals.

Nurse is in Oklahoma City with the Barons for the Calder Cup Playoffs. OKC takes on Utica in game three of the Western Conference Semifinal on Monday. The series is currently tied 1-1.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 05.9.2015 / 10:43 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist as the Kelowna Rockets won 5-3 to take a 2-0 series lead over the Brandon Wheat Kings despite having played the first two games on the road.

Brandon opened the scoring only 1:20 into the game before Draisaitl set up Rourke Chartier about 10 minutes later to tie it at 1-1. With three seconds to go in the first, Nick Merkley scored to make it 2-1.

Kelowna extended their lead to 3-1 only 27 seconds into period two. Peter Quenneville scored two goals four minutes apart early in the third to make it a 3-3 game, however.

Midway through the third, Nick Merkley scored his second of the game shorthanded to make it 4-3 and Draisaitl added an empty-netter to wrap it up.

The next three games of the series will be in Kelowna, starting with Game 3 on Monday at 8:05 p.m. MDT.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 05.9.2015 / 10:27 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Erie Otters have fallen behind 2-0 in their best-of-seven Ontario Hockey League Championship Series to the Oshawa Generals after losing Game 2 5-1 on Saturday night.

Top-ranked prospect Connor McDavid had no points and was a -2. It was the first time in these playoffs that McDavid came away without a point. He had a point in each of his first 16 playoff games, scoring 19 goals and 43 points in those games.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.8.2015 / 9:16 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl and the Kelowna Rockets were able to hang on to their one-goal lead in the third period, on the way to a 4-3 win over Brandon in game one of the Western Hockey League Final.

Draisaitl, taken third overall in 2014, finished the game +2 with a goal. His score came at 18:50 of the second period, proving to be the game-winner.

Tyson Baillie, Justin Kirkland and Chance Braid also scored for Kelowna. Rihards Bukarts (2) and Peter Quenneville both scored for Brandon.

Kelowna outshot the Wheat Kings 40-28.

Game two is on Saturday, in Brandon.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.8.2015 / 8:24 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

In game one of the Ontario Hockey League Final, the Erie Otters were overwhelmed by the Oshawa Generals, 4-1.

Top-ranked 2015 draft prospect Connor McDavid was -2 with an assist and two penalty minutes.

The Generals had a 2-0 lead in the second period when Remi Elie scored on the power play, assisted by McDavid and Travis Dermott.

The Generals outshot the Otters 12-5 in the third period and 31-19 for the game.

Hunter Smith scored the insurance goal at 17:39 of the final frame to give Oshawa to a 4-1 lead.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.8.2015 / 8:06 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Despite a first-period lead and another outstanding performance by Richard Bachman in net, the Oklahoma City Barons came out on the losing end of a 2-1 decision to the Utica Comets.

The series is now split at one game a piece and will transition to Oklahoma City for games three, four and five.

Kellen Jones fed his twin brother, Connor, for the game’s opening goal. Connor Jones potted his third of the playoffs at 8:50 of the first period for the 1-0 OKC lead.

Barons goaltender Richard Bachman was hot early and made some big saves in the second period.

Unfortunately, his efforts were spoiled in the third with Adam Clendening’s shot getting deflected in, through traffic, at 1:31 of the third period.

The goal snapped Bachman’s shutout streak at 144 minutes and 37 seconds, dating back to game one.

To close out the third period, Bachman was run into as Wacey Hamilton was hauled down in front, while crashing the net. Bachman made the save but was shaken up with 1.8 seconds left. He’d stay in until the finish.

Utica’s Alexandre Grenier tipped the puck past Bachman at 3:32 of overtime to even the series.

Bachman made 36 saves in the loss.

Game three is Monday, at 7 p.m. CDT in Oklahoma City.

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