It’s now down to the next three games.
After the Edmonton Oil Kings picked up the 7-3 win over the Calgary Hitmen on Wednesday to even up the series, whoever can win two of the next three games will represent the Eastern Conference in the WHL Final.
It’s a sentiment that’s not lost on the Hitmen players.
“I’m pretty confident in our team. We’ve shown that we can play with them. They are the league’s best team and we are kind of the underdog so we like that,” said defenceman Jaynen Rissling.
Fellow defender Alex Roach added, “We are going to be ready for the next game. We know that they are going to be ready out there and it’s going to be a battle out there like every game this series. We just have to stick to our game plan and not play to their hands.”
Game 5 goes Friday night up in Edmonton, with the series returning for Game 6 on Sunday at the Scotiabank Saddledome for at matinee affair at 4 p.m.
The Oil Kings opened the scoring early, with T.J. Foster sliding one past Hitmen goalie Chris Driedger less than 90 seconds in. He followed up with his second of the night just over a minute later to give the visiting team a 2-0 lead.
Markers from Martin Gernat and Ashton Sautner added to the Oil Kings advantage before Calder Brooks was able to get the Hitmen on the board at the 12 minute mark. The puck was driven hard to Edmonton’s net, and as a scrum broke out in front of goalie Laurent Brossoit, the puck slid across the goal line.
Travis Ewanyk came back a few minutes later with a goal of his own to make it 5-1 Edmonton after the first 20 minutes.
“It got away from us pretty quick,” said Driedger, who was relieved by Mack Shields after the first period.
“They had a couple of good plays that ended up going in. If you get a couple of bounces early, it shifts the momentum of the game and that’s what happened.”
Despite the Hitmen deficit, the scoreboard was even the rest of the game.
Hitmen forward Brooks Macek was rewarded with a penalty shot near the eight-minute mark of the second frame after being slowed up on a clean breakaway. He made a slick deke on Brossoit before roofing it top corner for Calgary’s second marker.
Dylan Wruck responded shortly after for the Oil Kings, and was followed quickly by Elliott Peterson scoring his fifth goal of the playoffs.
Michael St. Croix tacked on another Oil Kings tally early in the third period, which turned out to be the last goal of the contest.
In the Hitmen’s net, Driedger and Shields combined for 32 saves, while Brossoit turned away 22 pucks in the other net.
Calgary ended the night one for seven with the man advantage, while killing off five out of six penalty kill opportunities.
Game 5 goes Friday night at Rexall Place in Edmonton, and fans can watch live on Shaw TV starting at 7 p.m.