Oilers Pounded by U of A

There has been a long standing tradition in Edmonton that a team consisting of would-be rookies plays a game against the University of Alberta team. Sunday night’s matchup was an embarrassing loss for the Oiler wannabes as they were pounded by the UofA Golden Bears 7-2.

The Golden Bears out skated, out hit, out worked and out played the Oilers for most of the game. The score was 1-0 after the opening period, which flattered the rookies. Halfway through the second, the score was an unbelievable 5-0! Sean Day had a solid game for the Golden Bears and was named the first star. Kris Knoblauch, who last year played in the WHL for Lethbridge, also played strong and scored the nicest goal of the night.

For Edmonton, Jay Stephenson, the Oilers final draft pick last year, scored one of his team’s goals. Jani Rita showed a couple of times that he has tremendous ability. He was the best stickhandler on the ice by far, and also made a sweet pass to Alexei Semenov on a terrific scoring chance. Rita wore #17, possibly a tribute to former Oiler star Jarri Kurri who’s number is about to be retired. Doug Lynch had a decent game, as did Semenov but the Bears badly out shot the Oilers (39 -21).

The Bears were flying and caught several of the Oiler defencemen flat footed and blew right by them. Ty Conklin started in net and gave up three goals, one very ugly one, before his 30 minutes were up. Eric Heffler played the second half and faired no better.

The Oilers next game is Monday night when the Minnesota Wild visit Skyreach Center. That will be the first game that veterans from last year’s team will see game action. It’s expected that Tommy Salo and Jussi Markkanen will split the game and Michael Henrich, Kari Haakana, Josh Green, Jochen Hecht, Marty Reasoner, Jani Rita and Steve Staios will all make their debuts.

Puckboy puckboy@hockeytraderumors.com