The Big Valley Oil Kings ended their brief post-season run Saturday as they lost 8-5 to the Daysland Northstars, who won the best-of-seven Battle River Hockey League semifinal in four straight games.
After losing the first two games 6-1 and 4-1, respectively, the Oil Kings tried to rally last Wednesday in their first game in Daysland, but fell 4-3 in overtime.
It was a disappointing loss and series, said Oil Kings coach Ryan Pietrucki.
“We had a very good regular season, but the playoffs weren’t so good,” he said. “We got really dusted by injuries. We had about seven guys knocked out of the lineup, and that really made a big difference.”
While some of the injuries were minor, some players are in for a longer recovery, Pietrucki said.
“I think having the three weeks off (because of a first-round bye) was a contributing factor. We were sluggish coming out, and Daysland had played the series prior, so they were definitely in better shape than we were.”
In their overtime loss last week, the Oil Kings were shorthanded when the Northstars’ Colin Zimmer connected at 8:43 of the extra period.
Devan Shanks, with a shorthanded marker, Alex Hustad and Cory Konecny scored for Big Valley, which had a 3-1 lead early in the second period.
Chance Clark made 30 saves in the Oil Kings’ net.
In Saturday’s season-ending game, Big Valley netted three power-play goals — from Hustad, Dustin Moore and Matt Schmermund — but it still wasn’t enough to match the Daysland offence. Along with three assists, Moore had a four-point game.
The Oil Kings also got goals from Matt Kinnunen and Brian Pieper.
Clark started in net for the Oil Kings, but just shy of nine minutes into the first period, he was replaced by second goalie Colin Stebner.
“They’ve had our number all year and they continued to take us down,” Stebner said of the Northstars. “It was unfortunate. But we’ve always had a tough time with them.”
Stebner blocked 26 of the 30 shots he faced, while Clark allowed three goals on seven shots.
The Oil Kings trailed by two goals when they put Stebner on the bench in favour of an extra skater with half-a-minute left on the clock. The Northstars added an empty-net goal.
Dean Petiot fired three goals for Daysland, which got a 25-save performance from Scott Garnett.
Big Valley had dug itself a hole the previous weekend in dropping back-to-back games on home ice.
“We got a slow start and couldn’t really bounce back from that, but we played better the last two games than in the first,” Stebner said.
In the other semifinal, the Hardisty Stampeders beat the Tofield Satellites 6-2 on Saturday to win that series 4-1.