The Winnipeg ICE have seen a spectacular season come to an unspectacular close. Falling out of the Western Hockey League playoffs on Friday evening, the ICE just simply could not keep up with the second-place Edmonton Oil Kings, dropping three-straight games for the first time all season.
First three-game losing streak of the season comes at the worst possible time for the @WHLWpgICE, who drop their Eastern Conference Final @TheWHL series with the @EdmOilKings.
A fantastic 53-10-3-2 season comes up short of the WHL championship and a Memorial Cup appearance.
— Carter Brooks (@CBrooksie84) May 28, 2022
Finishing the regular season atop the entire league with a 53-10-3-2 record, the ICE took care of business in the first and second rounds but were unable to withstand Edmonton’s attack, which has now only lost one playoff game during its 13-game postseason run. That game was Winnipeg’s lone victory back at Wayne Fleming Arena in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.
The ICE dealt with some shaky goaltending from both Daniel Hauser and Gage Alexander, while also not having their star forward Matthew Savoie in the lineup due to an injury suffered on a hit from Justin Sourdif back in Game 2.
The Oil Kings came out firing in the opening frame, scoring three times in less than one minute, en route to a 4-0 lead through 20 minutes of play. Winnipeg managed just two shots in the period. In adding another three markers in the second period, Edmonton entered the third period up 7-0 and ahead 28-13 on the shot chart. Winnipeg got its lone tally off the stick of Connor McClennon with just two minutes left to play. But it was far too little, too late for the ICE.
Six Oil Kings players picked up multiple points in the affair, with Dylan Guenther leading all players with four assists and Carter Souch and Kaiden Guhle scoring twice each. Guenther and Souch accounted for 14 of Edmonton’s 37 shots on net.
It was a gamble that did not pay off for ICE head coach James Patrick. Opting to go with Gage Alexander in net after a poor showing from Daniel Hauser, the Anaheim Ducks’ late-round draft pick performed brutally, making just five saves on the nine shots he faced in just 10 minutes of action to start the game. He was yanked for Hauser, who turned aside 25 of the 28 pucks that came his way.
Edmonton will now go on to host either the Kamloops Blazers or the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL championship final. Kamloops is currently one game ahead of Seattle in their best-of-seven series. Game 6 is set for Sunday.