Oil Kings demolish Barons, advance to south finals

In the final game of the regular season, the Big Valley Oil Kings faced off against the Devon Barons, and inflicted a crushing 10-3 defeat.

In the final game of the regular season, the Big Valley Oil Kings faced off against the Devon Barons, and limped away from a crushing 10-3 defeat, a fact the team never forgot during its five-game semi-finals series.

Forced to a do-or-die game five in Devon on Saturday, Feb. 6, the Oil Kings dealt the Barons a crushing 8-0 loss, not only securing their place in the south division finals against the Daysland Northstars, but also mending the wound dealt to the team by its final regular-season game against the Barons.

The Oil Kings hit the ice with determination, offensively overpowering the Barons while keeping their defensive end tight. Brandon Nowakowski put Big Valley on the board, followed by a goal from team captain Matt Kinnunen.

Kings’ Hobbs didn’t let more than three minutes pass in the second before he gave the Oil Kings another goal, with Dustin Moore following up a short two minutes of gameplay later. Brian Pieper and Moore added another two goals, bringing the second period to a close with a score of 6-0.

The team was bolstered by a crowd of avid fans who made the journey from Big Valley and area to Devon, west of Edmonton, coach Dustin Edwards said. Instead of focusing their attention on defence for the third, the team continued its offensive onslaught, scoring another two goals — Matthew Stefanishion and Jeff Clazie brought the final tally to 8-0.

“The game was not what I expected,” Edwards said. “It was a blow-out.”

The Oil Kings now go on to face perennial foe Daysland, who, with the Oil Kings, left the Battle River Hockey League to join the North Central Senior Hockey League. In the northern division, it’s also a former Battle River match-up with the Tofield Satellites facing off against the Bonnyville Pontiacs.

It’s the first time the Oil Kings have played in a playoff series, as for the past several years, the team had had byes into the finals.

“I know I said I had hoped we would have the weekend off,” Edwards said, about the series with Devon. “I’m glad we didn’t. We’re reaching our peak now and the games have given us extra practice and Daysland has been sitting now for a week.”

The first game in the series is on Friday, Feb. 12 in Big Valley, starting at 8:30 p.m. Those not able to go can listen to the game online at http://mixlr.com/oil-kings-nchl.