POSTED ON Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 8:06 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - / Inside the Oilers

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds avoided elimination and forced game six with a 4-2 win over the Erie Otters.

Nicholas Baptiste opened scoring at 2:06 of the first period, giving Erie a 1-0 lead. A turnover right out in front of Sault Ste. Marie goaltender Brandon Halverson led to that score.

The Greyhounds responded, on the power play, at 12:09 of the same period. Jared McCann’s one-timer found twine, assisted by Anthony DeAngelo and Sergey Tolchinsky.

A scoreless second period followed.

A turnover in the neutral zone gave the Greyhounds a 3-on-1 rush. Michael Bunting put it away, at 3:36 of the third to put Sault Ste. Marie up 2-1.

Travis Dermott tied the game for Erie at 5:13 of the third.

It was Bryan Moore who broke the tie and scored the winner, at 12:55. Moore came down the ice from his own blueline and picked the corner behind Devin Williams.

Gabe Guertler buried an empty-netter at 19:58 to put the icing on the cake.

Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse finished the game +1, with no points. Top-ranked draft prospect Connor McDavid had an assist on the Dermott goal.

Game six of the OHL Western Conference Final takes place in Erie on Saturday. Game six is on Sportsnet 360.

POSTED ON Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 4:01 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - / Inside the Oilers

Oilers winger Matt Hendricks has been named captain of the 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team for the 2015 IIHF World Championships.

Hendricks, 33, played in 71 games for the Oilers this season, recording 16 points (8-8-16) and 76 penalty minutes.

The 2015 World Championships take place in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic from May 1-17. The U.S. team is in Group B.

Hendricks is from Blaine, Minnesota.

POSTED ON Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 11:14 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - / Inside the Oilers

An Oilers prospect, in his return from injury, scored the overtime winner and lifted the Oklahoma City Barons to a 2-1 win and a 3-0 sweep of the San Antonio Rampage.

Jujhar Khaira, playing in his first game since March 4, scored the game-winning goal at 5:01 of the overtime period.

In the first, there was a scramble in front of the San Antonio net. The puck slid behind Rampage goaltender Dan Ellis, but was covered up by bodies. Following an official review, it was confirmed to be no goal.

Kellen Jones jammed a rebound past Ellis at 18:51 of the second period to give OKC a 1-0 lead. Matthew Ford and Jason Williams earned the assists.

Kellen’s twin brother, Connor, scored the overtime winner in game two and came close to giving the Barons a 2-0 lead with 1:30 left in the game but his one-on-one chance was stopped by Ellis.

Ellis left the ice, giving San Antonio an extra attacker, with about 80 seconds left in the third. Dylan Olsen potted the equalizer with 58.3 seconds left in the game, assisted by Vincent Trocheck and Garrett Wilson. That goal sent it to overtime.

Bachman had his work cut out for him in regulation, making 35 saves through 60 minutes.

In overtime, it was the Oilers 2012 third-round pick, Khaira, who brought the brooms out for the sweep. Mitch Moroz, the 32nd overall pick in 2012, set that play up. Moroz came down the wing and centred a pass through two Rampage bodies. The puck reached Ford, who fired it over the net. Khaira banked the rebound in off of a sprawled Ellis for the win.

Bachman made 35 saves in his first start of the 2015 playoffs. The Barons second-round opponent is yet to be determined.

POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.29.2015 / 10:40 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - / Inside the Oilers

A three-goal run in the first and second periods lifted the Kelowna Rockets to an important 3-2 win over Portland, tying their WHL Western Conference Final series at 2-2.

Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl scored a goal at 7:50 of the first period, tying the game at 1-1. That goal sparked two more from Kelowna, giving them a 3-1 lead.

Nicolas Petan scored at 12:03 of the second, but that’s as close as the Winterhawks would get to completing their comeback bid.

Jackson Whistle made 14 saves in the third period for Kelowna to help seal the win.

Draisaitl also chipped in an assist on Kelowna’s third goal of the night, at 9:16 of the second on the power play. Draisaitl leads Kelowna in playoff scoring with 19 points in 13 games.

POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 11:14 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - / Inside the Oilers

Oilers 2014 third-overall pick, Leon Draisaitl, scored a goal in Kelowna’s 7-3 loss to Portland in game three of the WHL Western Conference Final.

Draisaitl’s goal was his fifth of the playoffs and 17th point in 12 games so far. He finished game three -1 with two penalty minutes.

Kelowna outshot Portland 44-40, but the Winterhawks got the early jump on the Rockets. Portland scored the game’s opening three goals, and had a 5-1 lead at one point.

The Winterhawks lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1. Game four is in Portland on Wednesday night.

POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 8:35 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - / Inside the Oilers

The Erie Otters took a 3-1 series in the Ontario Hockey League Western Conference Final, with a 7-5 win over Darnell Nurse and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

The first period scoring began with Jean Dupuy’s goal just 38 seconds into the game to give Sault Ste. Marie a short-lived 1-0 lead. Dupuy was assisted by Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse and Justin Bailey.

Nicholas Baptiste answered for Erie at 2:35 of the opening frame, assisted by the top-ranked 2015 draft prospect, Connor McDavid, and Remi Ellie.

Although McDavid couldn’t find twine, he finished the game with four assists.

“(McDavid is) a heck of a player, he’s a dynamic player, he competes, he wins battles, he’s great to watch. I’m glad I’m able to watch him tonight,” said Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli, who was at the game and was interviewed on the broadcast.

The Otters and Greyhounds exchanged goals to make it 2-2 heading into the second.

Nick Ritchie passed the puck out in front to Gabe Guertier for the Sault Ste. Marie lead at 8:09 of the second period.

Baptiste, a 2013 third-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres, scored his second of the night at 11:24 of the second, on the power play, to even things up at three.

After a Jared McCann third-period goal for the Greyhounds, Erie tied things up once again when NHL Central Scouting’s fourth-ranked North American skater, Dylan Strome, scored on the power play, assisted by McDavid and Travis Dermott.

Nurse came to the defence of a teammate who was hit after the whistle and went to the box for roughing, which gave Erie that power play. McDavid tossed it in front and Strome scooped and scored at 3:32 of the third.

Strome finished the game -1 with a goal and an assist. Nurse finished +1 with two penalty minutes and a helper.

Baptiste earned the hat trick at 13:23 of the third, giving Erie a 6-4 lead.

Sault Ste. Marie did get within one again, but Baptiste’s fourth goal of the night sealed the Erie win at 19:22 of the final frame.

Game five is on Thursday, in Sault Ste. Marie.

POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 2:02 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - / Inside the Oilers

Oilers Entertainment Group announced today that Aquila Productions has received 12 nominations for the 2015 Alberta Film & Television (Rosie) Awards.

Aquila Productions is owned by OEG and based in Edmonton.

Aquila received four nominations for “Oil Change: Game On,” a documentary series covering the Oilers franchise. They also received six nominations for “Scout’s Honor,” one nomination for their live production of Tour of Alberta and one nomination for their production of the 1984 Legacy Reunion Gala.

The Alberta Media Production Industries Association Awards celebrate excellence and outstanding achievement in Alberta film, television and new media.

POSTED ON Sunday, 04.26.2015 / 7:50 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - / Inside the Oilers

Connor McDavid showed, once again, why he is NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked North American skater heading into the 2015 NHL Draft. McDavid scored two goals, including a beautiful shorthanded tally, as the Erie Otters took a 2-1 series lead over Darnell Nurse and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, with a 4-2 win.

On a shorthanded breakaway in the first period, McDavid went full-Forsberg. In a throwback to Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg, McDavid slipped the puck past Greyhounds goaltender Brandon Halverson, one-handed. That goal at 10:51 was assisted by Remi Ellie and gave Erie a 2-0 lead.

McDavid’s second goal came at 1:01 of the second period as he flipped a backhand behind Halverson, unassisted. That goal made it 3-1, Erie.

McDavid now has 18 goals and 32 points in 12 playoff games, leading the OHL.

The Greyhounds made a push, making it a 3-2 game at 14:57 of the second. Anaheim Ducks 2014 first-round pick, Nick Ritchie, scored his 13th goal of the playoffs, assisted by Tyler Ganly and Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse.

Nurse, taken seventh overall in 2013, logged a lot of ice time, rarely leaving the game for long, and had an assist and two penalty minutes.

It was Nick Betz who opened the scoring for Erie at 5:55 of the first period, assisted by Cory Genovese and Troy Donnay.

Nicholas Baptiste closed out the 4-2 win for Erie with an empty-net goal at 18:21 of the third.

Ganly was the other goal scorer for Sault Ste. Marie, potting one at 16:39 of the first.

Dylan Strome, NHL Central Scouting’s fourth-ranked North American skater, finished the game with no points.

Game four of the Ontario Hockey League Western Conference Final will be played in Erie again this Tuesday at 5 p.m. MDT. Fans can tune in on Sportsnet 360.

POSTED ON Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 10:09 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - / Inside the Oilers

The Oklahoma City Barons continued their comeback ways in game two against San Antonio, battling back from down 3-0 to tie in the game’s final minute, and Connor Jones made no mistake in overtime, netting the winner and lifting OKC to a 2-0 series lead.

The Barons got the 4-3 win, but it was a tough road to that finish.

For the first few shifts of the game, the Barons seemed to have the jump. Right off the opening draw, 10 seconds in, Jason Williams had a breakaway on the new Rampage starter, Michael Houser. Dan Ellis started in San Antonio’s game one loss.

Despite the quick start for OKC, the Rampage took over in the first period. Connor Brickley tipped a shot in past Laurent Brossoit at 9:16. Brett Olson and Corban Knight earned the helpers.

On the power play, San Antonio took a 2-0 lead at 12:34 of the first. Knight put away a rebound, assisted by Brickley and Jesse Blacker.

Brossoit had his work cut out for him in the first, as the Barons were outshot 18-9 in the opening 20 minutes.

It didn’t get much easier in the second. John McFarland worked his way around Martin Marincin and put the puck through Brossoit’s legs for the 3-0 Rampage lead at 6:44 of the middle frame. Edmonton native Alex Petrovic recorded the lone assist.

Brossoit was pulled in favour of Richard Bachman, in the hopes that a change would spark a reaction from the team.

The Barons hit the post moments later, with players celebrating as if it was a goal. Unfortunately, it never crossed the line.

Bachman made a good save following a scramble in front with six minutes remaining in the second period.

Andrew Miller set up Barons Captain Ryan Hamilton for OKC’s first goal of the game at 17:27 of the middle frame to make it 3-1. Joshua Winquist earned the second assist on the power play goal.

The Barons inched even closer when Jordan Oesterle struck on the man advantage with 3:17 remaining in the third period. C.J. Stretch and Williams had the assists.

Matthew Ford netted the equalizer with a tip in front of the Rampage net with 36 seconds remaining in the game.

It was Jones who scored the winner at 4:01 of the overtime period, assisted by Ford and Oesterle.

The Barons hope to get the sweep, of the best-of-five series, in game three on Wednesday night.

POSTED ON Friday, 04.24.2015 / 5:48 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers announced some significant changes to the structure of their organization on Friday. Newly appointed CEO of Oilers Entertainment Group Bob Nicholson introduced Peter Chiarelli as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager at a press conference at the Hotel Macdonald.

“We are delighted to bring a person of Peter’s considerable hockey knowledge and experience to the Edmonton Oilers,” said Nicholson. “Peter has had success at all levels of the game and we look forward to his leadership.”

In addition, it was announced that Kevin Lowe would have his responsibilities transition out of hockey operations, but he remains Vice Chair of OEG.

“I support Bob in the changes he has implemented and I am very excited about the bright future for the Edmonton Oilers, the City of Edmonton and Oilers fans everywhere,” Lowe said in a press release. “It has been an honour to represent the Oilers both on and off the ice, and I look forward to my new role in the organization.

Nicholson says the transition with Lowe was not difficult. The two were in the meetings with Chiarelli together and both decided to bring in the former Boston Bruins GM.

“It was not difficult at all,” said Nicholson. “I can tell you that Kevin was in those discussions, with myself, when we talked to Peter and we both agreed through the process that Peter should be the guy that runs hockey top to bottom in this organization. I can’t say enough, the help Kevin has given me through this process and it’s very, very clear that Peter should have the title of President of Hockey Operations and General Manager.”

Former General Manager Craig MacTavish’s role is yet to be defined.

OEG also announced that Patrick LaForge has stepped down as President & COO.

“We thank Patrick for his dedication to the Oilers and Oil Country over the last 15 years. He made a significant mark on the organization and was the driving force behind many successful initiatives,” Nicholson said in a press release.

The trio of executives helping Nicholson grow OEG will be Stew MacDonald, responsible for marketing and revenue, Darryl Bossenkool, who will oversee finance and OEG transition business, and Bob Black, who will continue as Executive Vice President of the Edmonton Arena Corporation, and will head up new business for OEG.