Edmonton, Alta. – In the 2014 playoffs, the Edmonton Oil Kings have lived by the motto of “have a different hero every night.” But in the Eastern Conference Championship, that hero was Brett Pollock.
Pollock had five goals and two assists in the series with three game winners, including one with 5:38 to play Saturday night that lifted the Oil Kings to a 4-3 win over Medicine Hat and their third straight WHL Eastern Conference Championship.
“It was tough to see out there because his cape was flapping around on the ice,” said Oil Kings forward Curtis Lazar, who was named the Eastern Conference Championship MVP. “He’s had a great playoffs for us, and just to see the strides he’s taken this season – it’s awesome.”
Medicine Hat jumped out to a 1-0 lead for the first time in the series, but goals from Pollock, Edgars Kulda and Mads Eller shorthanded gave the Oil Kings a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
Less than two minutes into the frame, Cole Sanford scored his second of the night for the Tigers, setting the stage for Pollock’s heroics.
“We know they’re going to score on us; we’re not going to have a perfect game,” Pollock said. “Just how you bounce back and how we came back shows how we are.”
“We’ve gone through a lot of adversity in some games and we’ve been able to battle through and come back, and it showed again tonight,” added Oil Kings captain Griffin Reinhart.
Pollock finished with two goals and an assist for the second straight game to lead the Oil Kings attack, while eight other Oil Kings found the score sheet with one point. Blake Orban picked up an assist on the game winner, his first point in his first game of the playoffs after returning from a lower body injury. Tristan Jarry made 16 saves for the Oil Kings to pick up his 12th win of the postseason.
Sanford had two goals for Medicine Hat, while Jacob Doty got the other. Tigers netminder Marek Langhamer made 48 saves in a losing effort.
Edmonton will now match up with the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL final for the third straight season beginning next Saturday in Portland. Edmonton is just their eighth team in WHL history to win its conference three years running. It will be the first time the same two teams have met in back-to-back-to-back finals since the old Oil Kings played the Flin Flon Bombers in 1969, 1970 and 1971.
The Oil Kings will host Games 3 and 4 at Rexall Place on May 6 and 7. Tickets go on sale Monday morning at 10 a.m. at oilkings.ca, the Rexall Place box office or any Ticketmaster location.