London, ON – The Edmonton Oil Kings captured the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup with a 6-3 win over the Guelph Storm earning their first Championship title in modern franchise history.
“So proud of these guys,” said Head Coach Derek Laxdal. “The effort they put into tonight to beat an unbelievable team in Guelph, it just shows you what we’ve gone through all year.
Edmonton brings a Memorial Cup back to the City of Champions for the first time since 1966 when the Oil Kings defeated the Oshawa Generals by a 4-2 score, and become the first WHL team to win since the 2008 Spokane Chiefs upended the Kitchener Rangers on home ice six years ago to the day.
“We never gave up,” said Oil Kings captain Griffin Reinhart. “I think that’s been a theme of ours this year, we’ve been down before and we just kept climbing back up.”
Henrik Samuelsson had a five-point performance notching two goals and three assists to take over the tournament scoring lead with eight points in five games.
“We battled all year to get to this point,” said Samuelsson. “No better feeling than this, it’s amazing.”
The Storm opened the scoring in the Championship Final just one minute into the first period as Robby Fabbri finished off a nice three way passing play with a tap into a wide open net.
The Oil Kings would tie the game at the 9:38 of the first period off of a power play goal as Cody Corbett’s blast through traffic beat Storm goaltender Justin Nichols.
At the 16:36 mark of the first period, the Storm would regain their lead. Pius Suter would be denied on the breakaway, but Stephen Pierog deposited the rebound behind a down and out Oil Kings goaltender Tristan Jarry.
Down 2-1 in the second period, the Oil Kings responded with three unanswered goals from Tyler Robertson, Edgars Kulda, and Mitch Moroz to lead 4-2 at the end of 40 minutes.
The Storm came flying out of the gates to start the third period with a Zack Mitchell goal at 3:23, but a goal from Samuelsson less than two minutes later would restore the two goal lead.
Samuelsson sealed the victory with an empty net goal late at 18:34.
The Oil Kings outshot the Storm 45-35 with Jarry making 32 saves in the win, and Nichols taking the loss with 39 stops.
Kulda claimed MVP honours with seven points including a goal and two assists in the final earning the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy.
The loss marks a disappointing end to a tremendous season for the Storm who won their third Robertson Cup title as OHL champions following their best season in franchise history with 52 wins and 108 points.
The Oil Kings also complete an impressive season where they finished first in the WHL’s Eastern Conference with 50 wins and 103 points before winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup as league champions in a thrilling seven game series against the Portland Winterhawks to return to the MasterCard Memorial Cup for the second time in three years.