As the final test of Edmonton Oilers Rookie Camp, 22 NHL prospects took on a collection of Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference all-stars Thursday night in Camrose.
Just over three minutes into the game, Oilers forward Kyle Paige strode up the slot and fired the puck past ACAC goalie Anthony Heuer to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead.One minute later, Toby LaFrance made it 2-0 by capitalizing on a crowded crease and slipping the puck across the goal line.
A tripping penalty to rookie Cleve Kinley threatened to derail the Oilers, but netminder Andrew Perugini stopped all four ACAC powerplay shots.
The All-Stars couldn't accomplish the same feat, however. With Joel Chisholm serving an interference penalty and the Oilers occupying the ACAC zone, Garet Hunt converted a pass from Kinley into a powerplay goal to stretch the Oilers' lead to three. A second powerplay kept Edmonton on the offensive, but the club was unable to tally a fourth marker and headed to the second period up three goals and five shots.
The penalty boxes filled up four minutes into the middle frame as the All-Stars and Oilers rookies swapped minor penalties to force three-on-three hockey for nearly a minute. But the open ice yielded no further scoring and the 3-0 game continued.
The Oilers hit the 20-shot mark near the game's halfway mark, and though the club had some excellent scoring chances, All-Star reliever Justin Cote -- with a few clinch saves from his eagle-eyed defenders -- kept his team within three.
In the tail end of the period, Tyler Bellamy capitalized on a line-change and chased the puck into the Oilers zone. Perugini came out to challenge but soon retreated back to his crease and roused the crowd by robbing Bellamy and linemate Stephen Cavanagh of the breakaway goal.
The play soon swept to the opposite end of the ice, and following a face-off in the near corner, David Rohlfs utilized a crisp backhand to put the Oilers up 4-0 and with a 30-16 shot lead after two periods.
1:32 into the third, the Oilers made it 5-0. With Cote on his knees and out of position, Les Reaney shoveled the puck across the goal line to put the rookies further ahead.
The rookies cracked the 40-shot mark with four minutes left in the game, but shot 41 would be the next to get past Cote. With All-Star Kyle MacDonald earning five minutes and a game misconduct for boarding Ryan Huddy, Rob Bina pinched in to beat the busy goalie and give the Oilers a half-dozen unanswered goals.
A seventh goal by Marc-Andre Bernier in the final minute concluded the game and wrapped the Oilers Rookie Camp on a positive note.