Brandon Baddock of the Edmonton Oiler prospects, is hit by Zack Dailey of the University of Alberta Golden Bears in a exhibition hockey game at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton.
Photograph by: Shaughn Butts, Edmonton Journal
EDMONTON - So what did we learn from the renewal of the rivalry between the Edmonton Oilers rookies and the University of Alberta Golden Bears that started 25 years ago at the hockey barn named for the legendary Clare Drake?
(1) Bears forward Sean Ringrose, who had the game-winner in 2009 before the battle went on a hiatus, had the deciding goal again Tuesday in Alberta’s 4-3 victory — one of his three against Oilers goalie Tyler Bunz, who gave up all four goals in only 17 shots over 30 minutes.
(2) Oilers first-round draft pick Darnell Nurse will never be a bystander when a teammate goes down. He rushed to Oscar Klefbom’s defence at the first-period buzzer to try to even the score after Klefbom was steamrollered by Travis Toomey with the puck nowhere in sight.
(3) Klefbom was a target much of the night, taking an elbow to the kisser from Levko Koper with five minutes left. There was no penalty on the play.
(4) Todd Nelson — the Oklahoma City Barons coach who looked after the rookies through the prospects tournament in Penticton and against the Bears — didn’t make one victory speech in four games. But his team, which lost Yale grad Andrew Miller to an undisclosed injury just before game time, then Kale Kessy to a knee injury in the first period, showed more control than the Bears, who were sneaky dirty. Koper got away with his elbow on Klefbom and defenceman Thomas Carr plowed tough guy Todd Bilcke’s face into the boards in the first period with a blindside hit and didn’t get tossed out.
Oh, and one more thing. The Golden Bears hockey program pocketed about $90,000 from the 3,009 in the seats, paying $30 a seat. A nice win on the ice, and a huge windfall for the hockey squad — like a 50-50 win at an Eskimos game.
Greg Chase (Calgary Hitmen), Brandon Baddock (Edmonton Oil Kings camp invitee) and Reid Petryk (Everett Silvertips) scored for the Oilers — the first two on Kurtis Mucha, the Bears’ No. 1 goalie last year and the third against newcomer Luke Siemens, who played in Prince Albert. Siemens only saw four shots in his 29 minutes work.
“The guys all stuck up for one another, right to the end,” said Nelson, who didn’t like the hit on Bilcke at all. He instructed his guys to turn the other cheek, but it was hard. Again, the Bears were the nastier team in this one. Often in past Bears-Oilers games, it has been the Oilers kids losing their cool.
Nurse had his best game before main camp starts Thursday morning with on-ice sessions. He moved the puck nicely and wanted to fight Toomey.
“You see something like that, 10 times out of 10 I’m rushing in. I’m standing up for my teammates,” said Nurse.
If that had been in the Ontario Hockey League all hell would have broken loose. But if you fight in the CIS, you get tossed out, so the Bears don’t drop their mitts very often.
“In junior, guys drop their gloves and stand up for themselves, but in this situation, this is how it goes.”
Nelson was tickled by Nurse’s game.
“At times he was very dominant, making some great plays at the offensive blue-line,” said Nelson.
“It’s good to get my feet wet (rookie games). Now I’m excited for the main camp,” said the first-round choice Nurse.
Klefbom shrugged off the hits. “The first one? A little bit late, I’d say, but that’s hockey. No puck (by me) but what can you do? The second one (elbow). You should be prepared for that, that was a hard one,” said Klefbom, who fell to his knees, trying to shake out the cobwebs.
If Klefbom was blindsided a few times, so were the referees. They missed a goal by Ben Lindemulder that went through the net on Bunz.
ON THE BENCH: Martin Gernat dressed as a seventh defenceman when Miller was a late scratch. Nelson was going to play Miller and Jujhar Khaira on the wing, flanking second-round draft Marc-Olivier Roy, but Khaira has a bruised shoulder and couldn’t go. Khaira played centre in Penticton but might move to wing at main camp … Oilers assistant coach Kelly Buchberger is recovering from rotator cuff surgery when his son ran him over playing hockey and the former Cup winner’s arm got extended … Russian free-agent signee defenceman Anton Belov is still waiting to get his visa stamped to enter the country. He’s iffy to be on the ice for the first sessions Thursday, with a long flight here … Oil Kings winger Mitch Moroz, who had knee surgery this summer and didn’t play in Penticton at the prospects camp, is skating but his conditioning might be off right now … As of today, the Oilers haven’t extended any professional tryout offers to camp to any free-agent NHLers, unlike several other teams, like Philadelphia, which has Dan Cleary coming in and Ryan Whitney in St. Louis. Anxious players are calling general manager Craig MacTavish, though … Hockey Canada’s new chief scout Ryan Jankowski was in the house, probably looking at Nurse and Roy for the world junior squad … The Oilers haven’t released their main camp roster yet, but could have more than 60 players there. The veterans will take their physicals and fitness testing Wednesday.
For highlights from the 2007 Bears, Oilers game click the links below:
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