Oilers rookies get revenge for 2017 loss with 9-1 win but NAIT-MacEwan All-Stars relish experience

MacEwan Griffins goaltender Marc-Olivier Daigle stopped 30 of 34 shots, but the attack from the Oilers Rookies proved to be too much for the NAIT-MacEwan All-Stars to handle on Tuesday night in a 9-1 loss (Courtesy, Edmonton Oilers).
MacEwan Griffins goaltender Marc-Olivier Daigle stopped 30 of 34 shots, but the attack from the Oilers Rookies proved to be too much for the NAIT-MacEwan All-Stars to handle on Tuesday night in a 9-1 loss (Courtesy, Edmonton Oilers).

Jason Hills / For MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – The Edmonton Oilers rookies vowed to get revenge against the NAIT-MacEwan All-Stars and they certainly made good on their promise.

MacEwan Griffins goaltender Marc-Olivier Daigle was part of the NAIT-MacEwan tandem that shut out the Oiler rookies last year in their first-ever meeting, but there was absolutely nothing he could do to stop the barrage and offensive display the Oilers rookies put on in a 9-1 victory Tuesday night at Rogers Place.

Defenceman Caleb Jones scored two goals and two assists, while former Vancouver Giant, local Tyler Benson, and 2018 second round draft pick Ryan McLeod had three points each.

Fifth-year MacEwan Griffins forward Ryan Baskerville broke the shutout with 1:52 remaining when he tapped home a perfect cross-ice pass from NAIT's Jake Mykitiuk to score the lone tally for the All-Stars.

"We did what we could, but they showed they really wanted to get us back after last year. I knew this game wasn't going to be easy," said Daigle, who made 30 saves on 34 shots in 31:20 of action. 

"They had a really good team again this year. They weren't happy with the result from last year, and unfortunately for us, they made it really tough on us."

Austin Yaremchuk battles for position along the boards on Tuesday night (Courtesy, Edmonton Oilers).

After the Oilers rookies were shocked last year, they came out in the opening period and dominated, but Daigle kept his team in it. Despite watching his team be outshot 20-4 in the opening 20 minutes, NAIT-MacEwan was only down 1-0.
McLeod scored his first of the game at the 16:20 mark. That goal, broke a streak of 76:20 of action that the Oiler rookies were able to find the scoresheet, dating back to last year's game.

The Oilers rookies peppered Daigle with a variety of quality scoring chances, and showed relentless pressure. Daigle made one of his nicest saves of the contest, denying Vesel on the doorstep with a sprawling pad save, but with NAIT-MacEwan scrambling around in their own zone moments later, the Oilers rookies were finally able to capitalize when McLeod had a wide open net after a backdoor pass from Benson and McLeod was able to get the puck past a diving Daigle, who tried to make the desperation stop.

"Their goaltender was once again red-hot. We had to really work hard to get that first one by him. It took a backdoor, wide open net. Props to him, he played unbelievable, but we really had to work hard to get the flood gates to open," said Jones.

"We knew they were going to come out and play hard, because it's an opportunity for them to show what they can do, and I think last year we took them a little lightly. We didn't want to make that mistake again, and they made us work for everything we did tonight."

The Oilers rookies had nearly a minute of power play time to start the second period, and while they didn't score on that chance, Jones gave them a 2-0 lead on a nice wrap-around goal after pinching in from the blue line and take and taking a feed from Benson.

Benson and Colin Larkin would score two power play markers just 1:19 apart and the Oiler rookies were in full control heading into the third.

Jones and McLeod would add their second goals of the game in the third period, and Luke Esposito, Vesel and Kirill Maksimov would add the others in the five-goal third period outburst.

"We were making a couple turnovers and their attack was so fast. We'd turn it over at the blue line and they would we'd start running around and it just led to so many shots and the goals eventually," said Baskerville.

Despite the Oilers rookies blowing the game wide-open in the third and dominating from start to finish, the group of NAIT-MacEwan All-stars didn't quit.

Last year, Baskerville was in the stands watching, and this time around he scored his team's only goal of the game.

MacEwan's Ryan Baskerville scored the lone goal for the NAIT-MacEwan All-Stars, breaking a shutout for the Oilers Rookies with just 1:52 left (Courtesy, Edmonton Oilers).

Baskerville made a nice move to the net and made no mistake on the pass from Mykitiuk to beat Oilers goaltender Olivier Rodrigue.

Dylan Wells got the start for the Oilers and stopped all 12 shots he faced, while Rodrigue let in one goal on four shots.

"Last year, I had to watch the game from the stands, so just being able to play in this game was really special and to score a goal made the experience even better," said Baskerville.

"It's a different experience playing with the guys from NAIT, because they are our biggest rivals and we've played them the last two years in the finals, but it's a great experience for both programs.

"We've become good friends this past week, but over the next couple weeks, we'll get back to being bitter rivals."

The Oilers Rookies pose for a photo with the NAIT-MacEwan All-Stars after Tuesday's game (Courtesy, Edmonton Oilers).