Montrose native Luke Bertolucci started his third season with Memorial Cup champion Edmonton Oil Kings on a positive note Saturday.
In a 4-2 win over the Kootenay Ice, Bertolucci counted two assists including a set up on the winning goal by Andrew Koep with just over three minutes remaining in regulation.
The victory was a fitting compliment to a night that saw over 11,000 fans turn up to watch the Oil Kings raise the 2013-14 Memorial Cup and Ed Chynoweth banners to the rafters at Rexall Place in Edmonton. It was the largest crowd ever to attend an Oil Kings opening game, and Bertolucci, who was also chosen to wear the ‘A’ as assistant captain, did not disappoint.
The 19-year-old former Trail Smoke Eater played physical all night, setting up Koep’s first goal midway through the second period to put the Oil Kings up 2-1, then start the play that capped off the winning goal late in the third.
The Oil Kings are coming off one of their most successful seasons in franchise history. The team finished with a 50-19-3 record and 103 points, but it was the hardware the club took home that highlighted the campaign.
The Oil Kings overcame a 2-0 series deficit against the Portland Winterhawks to win the WHL title, before becoming the Canadian junior hockey champions in winning May’s Memorial Cup tournament in London, Ont.
NHL Hockey Briefs:
The Boston Bruins Craig Cunningham joined the main camp on Tuesday after getting a clean bill of health from team doctors. The Warfield returned to the Bruins after enduring a bout of mononucleosis in August.
“He’s come back from mono, so he’s been cleared to practice with us,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said on the B’s website. “It’s his first day back with the big team.”
Cunningham has been skating, but Tuesday marked his first time taking part in Boston’s main camp. The fourth year pro who has put up three straight 20-goal seasons with AHL affiliate Providence has been eyeing a roster spot with the big club all summer.
The 24-year-old restricted free-agent signed a one-year, two-way deal in July for a reported $600,000 at the NHL level or $85,000 with Providence. Cunningham made his NHL debut on December 17, 2013 against the Calgary Flames and recorded four shots in the B’s 4-0 victory. The forward appeared in his second NHL game on April 13, 2014 against the New Jersey Devils.
Cunningham skated in 75 regular season games with Providence last season and recorded a team-leading 25 goals along with 22 assists for 47 points (third on the team).
Cunningham was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the fourth round (97th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
A day prior to the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 exhibition win over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday, the NHL Oilers cut back their training camp roster sending Montrose twins Connor and Kellen Jones to their American Hockey League affiliate Oklahoma City Barons. The Oilers reassigned 18 players Tuesday leaving 49 players remaining in camp; five goalies, 15 defencemen, and 29 forwards.