Curtis Lazar’s Edmonton Oil Kings edged the host Shawinigan Cataractes 4-3 to open the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament Friday night in Quebec.
Henrik Samuelsson scored the winner and Griffin Reinhart notched a goal and an assist as the WHL champion Oil Kings outscored the Cataractes 3-2 in a wild third period.
Vernon’s Lazar, who notched a trio of assists in the WHL championship series against the Portland Winterhawks, was held pointless against Shawinigan. He registered a couple hits and was 7-for-15 on faceoffs.
The Oil Kings struck early, capitalizing on a turnover as Michael St. Croix knocked down a clearing attempt and fed Kristians Pelss for an easy tap-in on a 2-on-0 break.
The Cataractes, playing their first game in a month after a second-round elimination in the WMJHL playoffs, equalized on a powerplay goal by Michael Chaput.
After a scoreless second period, Reinhart made it 2-1 with a harmless-looking wrist shot that beat goaltender Alex Dubeau high glove side. Shortly after, Martin Gernat added to the lead with a point shot that took a deflection past Dubeau with the teams at 4-on-4.
Anton Zlobin got the Cataractes within a goal less than a minute later, tapping a loose puck past Laurent Brossoit. Chaput tied the game when the Kings’ Keegan Lowe bobbled the puck in front of Brossoit, allowing the Shawinigan centre to wire a quick wrist shot over a stunned Edmonton keeper.
However, Samuelsson buried the winner just 23 seconds later with a quick one-timer.
Brossoit turned in a 30-save performance, while Dubeau made 20 stops in the loss.